United Nations, Dec 20 : The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Caucus in the Security Council expressed "grave concern" over the continuing illegal Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem.
Hardeep Singh Puri, India's permanent representative to the UN, in his capacity as coordinator of the NAM Caucus in the Security Council, said NAM "condemns the recent provocative announcements by Israel, the occupying power, to construct 3,000 settlement units on confiscated Palestinian land" ... "in addition to declarations regarding the construction of another 3,600 settlement units".
"NAM stresses that Israel's settlement activities constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law and violate numerous United Nations resolutions, including resolutions of the Security Council," a statement Thursday quoted him as saying.
Stressing that the "Israeli settlement activities undermine the contiguity, integrity, viability and unity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory", and "jeopardize the prospects for achieving the two-state solution", Puri said it was also "causing extensive physical, economic and social devastation throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory".
"NAM rejects these illegal actions, which have deliberately intensified after the international community's reaffirmation of its support for the two-State solution" with the UN General Assembly according Palestine the status of non-member observer state last month, Puri said.
The NAM Caucus called on Israel to "immediately cease its settlement activities and to abide by all of its legal obligations".
NAM also called on the parties to "return to the path of peace" and for "the achievement of a just and lasting final settlement", the statement said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government would press ahead with its settlement expansion plan.
On Wednesday, Israel granted approval for 2,610 homes in a new settlement in East Jerusalem and also floated tenders for several settlements in the West Bank for 1,000 new homes. (IANS)