Israel tells UN: 'We will not stop building in the West Bank'

The Israeli ambassador told the Security Council that new houses in settlements were not a barrier to peace


Israel's ambassador to the UN has told the body that his country won't stop expanding settlements as they are not a barrier to peace.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., told the Security Council that Israeli building permits in the West Bank “are not an impediment to peace, and the building will not stop. Constructing homes in existing communities across Judea and Samaria is not an inflammatory step.”

Erdan added that “Judea and Samaria is the heartland of the Jewish people. We are called ‘Jews’ because we are from Judea.”

The ambassador also sought to counter UN criticism that the current Israeli government is fueling tensions.

He said: “Palestinian terror attacks have been relentless, regardless of Israel’s various governments. Right-wing, left-wing, centrist—it makes no difference to the Palestinians,” said Erdan. “No matter who the prime minister is or who sits in the Cabinet, Palestinian incitement persists and as a result, Palestinian terror persists.”

Robert Wood, the U.S. representative at Tuesday’s session, said he understood the reasons for pessimism after witnessing the events of the last two weeks.

“The violence of the past week must serve as a call for action for all of us in this council to redouble our efforts toward peace,” said Wood. “The United States will continue to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to promote steps aimed at lowering tensions and restoring trust, which can create the conditions to bring the parties back to the table.”

Lana Nusseibeh, the UN representative from the UAE, who chaired the monthly Security Council hearing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict added that the council “encouraged additional steps to restore a durable calm and de-escalate tensions, and called on all parties to refrain from unilateral actions that further inflame tensions." 

Tor Wennesland, the U.N. special representative for the Middle East peace process, told council members during Tuesday’s session that the last two weeks “have been terrible” and that he was “gravely concerned by the escalating spiral of violence.”

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