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UN: Israel is raising doubts about its commitment to peace

A senior official at the United Nations has said that Israel's commitment to build 1,060 settler homes in East Jerusalem raises serious doubts about the country's commitment to peace with the Palestinians.

On Monday, senior Israeli officials announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to accelerate the construction of new settlement units in East Jerusalem.

Due to Israel's recent plans and the growing sense of Palestinian concern over Israeli actions, Jordan has called upon the UN Security Council to hold an urgent meeting in the hopes that they will take preventative measures or condemn Israel's action. It is highly unlikely that the Security Council, consisting of 15 members, will take any concrete action.

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs in the UN Jeffrey Feltman said: "If Israel implements its plans to expedite settlement construction, they would raise serious doubts among members of the international community regarding their commitment to a long-lasting peace with the Palestinians because building more settlements prevents the Palestinians from having any semblance of a politically viable state."

Riyad Mansour, the observer for Palestine in the UN, confirmed Feltman's statement by reiterating that the establishment of more settlements will prevent Palestinians from having a viable state in the future with East Jerusalem as its capital. Mansour went on to say that every day new actions are taken to prevent the viability of an independent Palestinian state and that Israel's actions have led to the continued erosion of the possibility for a two-state solution.

Mansour also expressed his concern for the way that Israel is dealing with religious holy sites in Jerusalem, including the Holy Mount. He added that Jerusalem is under siege and that Israel's provocations towards Al-Aqsa Mosque bring about an increased threat of violence.

Israel's permanent representative to the UN Ron Prosor condemned Mansour's statements saying: "The Palestinians are committed to fabricating myths and half-truths about Israel. I am here to say one truth: Israel is not an occupier. We are not settlers. Israel is our homeland, we belong here and Jerusalem will remain our eternal and undivided capital."

Prosor showcased a copy of the Old Testament as proof of this belief that Jerusalem has a 4,000-year-old Jewish history. "It says a lot about the international community when they are appalled at Israel for building homes for Jews in Jerusalem but say nothing when Jews are killed. This demonstrates their level of hypocrisy."

And yet, while the United States remains Israel's faithful ally, they too criticise the Israeli government's settlement expansion. Since the war on Gaza this summer, there has been an increase in tensions in Jerusalem on an almost daily basis. Israeli forces have clashed with Palestinian protestors who have been throwing stones. Tensions also increased following the numerous visits of extremist Jews to Al-Aqsa Mosque and its courtyards. Netanyahu has vowed to continue Israel's changes to Al-Aqsa platform.

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