Russia's permanent delegate at the United Nations has called the continued construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories "the biggest obstacle to the two-state solution". Vitaly Churkin also called on Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes in Occupied Jerusalem.
Speaking during an open UN Security Council session on Monday, Churkin said that continued settlement activity undermines the international community's efforts for reviving negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Such activity, he added, violates international law and ignores the recommendations of the Middle East Quartet.
Mr Churkin said that he is worried about the latest Israeli decisions to expand settlements at what is a very sensitive stage for the peace process. He called on Israel to "reconsider its settlement construction plans, including in East Jerusalem." He also said that both the Palestinians and the Israelis should take positive steps toward each other, and refrain from making unilateral moves and imposing preconditions for the resumption of negotiations.