Nickolay Mladenov
Nickolay MladenovReuters

The UN envoy for the Middle East on Monday accused Israel of continuing to “build settlements at a high rate" in defiance of Security Council demands, AFP reports.

Reporting to the council, envoy Nickolay Mladenov accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government of using provocative rhetoric to shore up the drive for new communities in Judea and Samaria.

From June to September, new construction was mostly in eastern Jerusalem, with plans for some 2,300 new housing units -- a 30 percent increase from last year, he claimed.

"Israel's illegal settlement activities have continued at a high rate, a consistent pattern over the course of the year," Mladenov told the council, according to AFP.

"Israeli officials continue to use provocative rhetoric in support of expansion," he claimed.

Aside from new construction, Mladenov also claimed that the demolition of Palestinian Arab homes and schools continued, but at a significantly lower rate.

In all, 344 buildings have been destroyed, a third of them in east Jerusalem, displacing over 500 people, he said.

The “settlement expansion” is “making the two-state solution increasingly unattainable", claimed Mladenov.

The comments mark the second time in the last several months that the UN envoy has blasted Israel over its construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

In March, Mladenov accused Israel of not having taken steps to halt “settlement construction” as demanded by UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which was adopted in December of 2016.

"The resolution calls on Israel to take steps 'to cease all settlements activities in the occupied Palestinian territory including east Jerusalem.' No such steps have been taken during the reporting period," Mladenov told the council at the time.

The 15-member council adopted Resolution 2334 on December 23, 2016, after the United States, in one of the final moves by former President Barack Obama, abstained in the vote and allowed it to pass.

The passing of Resolution 2334 was one in a series of unilateral moves by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which seeks to impose a peace agreement on Israel while bypassing direct talks.