UN: Construction 'Violates International Law'

In emergency session, UN Security Council discusses Israel's plan to build new homes in Jerusalem.

Ben Ariel ,

UN Security Council
UN Security Council

The United Nations (UN) Security Council on Wednesday held an emergency session over Israel’s plans to build 1,000 new homes in Jerusalem, Al Jazeera reported.

According to Haaretz, while the Security Council condemned Israel over the construction, which it claimed “violates international law”, it did not agree on actions against Israel which the United States would likely have vetoed.

During the session, UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman warned that Israel's plans for “further settlements” could ignite more violence and threaten the viability of the future Palestinian state.

Feltman called on Israel to "abide by its commitment to the international law", while calling on Palestinian Arab protesters to stop incitement of violence.

He urged both sides to commit to "meaningful negotiations," according to the report.

The emergency session was requested by Jordan on Monday following a letter from the PA’s Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, to the Security Council president.

On Wednesday, reported Al Jazeera, Mansour told the Security Council meeting that Israel's "illegal" actions "are exacerbating the conflict and obstructing a peaceful solution."

"Israel, the occupying power, must be demanded to cease immediately and completely its illegal settlement activities throughout the occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem," he said.

In response, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, denied that Israel is an occupier, adding that Jerusalem will "forever" belong to Israel.

He also said that Israel is doing everything possible to minimize tensions, and blamed Palestinian Arabs for provoking the Israeli police.

On Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave instructions for the building of about 660 homes in Ramat Shlomo, in northern Jerusalem, and about 400 more in Har Homa, in the capital's southern section. All of the tenders had been slated for construction from as far back as 2010. 

Earlier this month, he approved 2,610 building tenders from 2012 to be approved for full construction

Both decisions have been met with threats from the EU and the Palestinian Authority (PA), and drawn criticism from the United States. On Monday night, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington was "deeply concerned" by the reports and American embassy officials were having high-level talks with Israeli leaders to seek more information.