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Israel keeps expanding settlements despite UN resolution: Report

File photo of an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank

A United Nations report takes Israel to task for failing to abide by a 2016 Security Council resolution urging the regime to stop its settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian land, saying Tel Aviv has in fact taken “no steps” at all to that effect.

UN Middle East coordinator, Nickolay Mladenov submitted a report to the Security Council on Tuesday, detailing Tel Aviv’s construction activities from March 26 to June 12. The report is published every four months to recount the implementation of Resolution 2334.

“As detailed in the report, no steps were taken during the reporting period to cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem [al-Quds] as demanded by the resolution,” he said.

Mladenov said some 3,500 housing units in settlements in the so-called Area C of the occupied West Bank had even been either “advanced, approved or tendered.”

The Area C is the largest division in the occupied territory as it comprises 60 percent of the land. Israel has subjected it to full military control.

The report, meanwhile, said that during the period covered , Israeli authorities had demolished or seized 84 Palestinian-owned structures, resulting in the displacement of 67 people and potentially affecting the livelihoods of 4,500 others.

“The need to reverse, or at the very least contain the impact of negative trends - especially illegal settlement activity, violence and incitement - is critical not only to preserve hope for a meaningful return to the negotiating table, but also to prevent the escalation of broader regional tensions,” the official noted.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East al-Quds during the Six Day War in 1967. It later annexed East al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.

Now, about 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the occupation.

The council approved Resolution 2334 on December 23, 2016 by a vote of 14-0 when former American president Barack Obama’s administration abstained, stopping short of vetoing the anti-Israel document in a rare move.

The resolution states that “it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem [al-Quds], other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.”

Mladenov further said the reporting period was characterized by high levels of violence, the UN’s website reported on its news section.

Israeli violence has killed more than 130 people since March 30, when Palestinians began holding peaceful March of Return protests on a weekly basis in support of their right to go back to their homeland.

“I want to again reiterate the call of the Secretary-General on all to unequivocally condemn, in the strongest possible terms, all actions that have brought us to this dangerous place and led to the loss of so many lives in Gaza,” he said.

Two Israeli troops were also injured during the protests, with at least five others injured as a result of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza, the website said.

Besides its crackdown on Gaza protests, the Israeli military has also been targeting positions of Hamas, which runs the territory, prompting the Palestinian resistance to respond by firing rockets into Israel.

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