Palestinian Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, stated Wednesday that Israel’s insistence on constructing and expanding its illegal settlements in the occupied territories jeopardize all efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.Mansour said that peace must be based on a full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories, including occupied East Jerusalem.

He also sent a letter to the UN Secretary General, the head of the UN Security Council and the head of the General Assembly.

In his letter, Mansour stated that Israel recently announced a new plan to build 2500 units for Jewish settlers in two illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

On August 15, Israel announced it will be constructing 277 units in the Ariel illegal settlement, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. The announcement followed a previous plan that was approved the Israel government aiming at building 2800 units in the occupied territories.

Mansour strongly denounced the plans and said that they show Israel’s lack of interest in achieving peace with the Palestinians, adding that Israel wants to change the demography of Jerusalem before any peace agreement is reached.

The ambassador further stated that the Palestinian leadership strongly denounces all Israeli settlement activities and the construction of the illegal and internationally outlawed, Annexation Wall, in the West Bank.

He added that the International Community, the Quartet (UN, US, EU and Russia) must act and oblige Israel to stop the construction and expansion of settlements, and that all Israeli measures will not be recognized by the International Community as they are illegitimate.

Mansour said that the idleness of the International community and the Security Council is encouraging Israel to go ahead with its violations aiming at voiding any chances for a real and comprehensive peace agreement based on the two-state solution.

He also denounced the Israeli military escalation against the Gaza Strip, and the ongoing illegal siege. The most recent attack was carried out by the Israeli army on Tuesday, August 16, when the army bombarded civilian areas in Gaza killing a 29-year-old Palestinian, and a 17-year-old mentally challenged youth who was hit by more than 10 rounds of live ammunition.

Also on Tuesday, soldiers rammed their jeep into a Palestinian resident from Sur Baher, east of occupied East Jerusalem, leading to his death.

Mansour concluded by stating that the International Community must provide protection to the Palestinian people, and must hold Israel accountable “for its crimes, acts of terror, and violations of human rights”.