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United Nations says Israelis, Palestinians both imperil 2-state solution

The envoy noted that recommendations offered by the so-called Middle East Quartet - the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the UN - on the way forward in the peace process have been ignored, pointing to a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and continuing demolitions of Palestinian buildings as an example of this.

Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the Security Council from Jerusalem in a video link that Israel is ignoring the Quartet's pleas.

In 1979, the U.N. Security Council declared Israeli settlements in occupied territory illegal.

It charges that since July 1, Israeli authorities have advanced plans for more than 1,000 housing units in East Jerusalem, annexed in 1981, and 735 housing units in the West Bank. Mladenov said this would contribute to the "dismemberment of the southern West Bank".

"He has often spoken about his bias towards "Israel's right to exist" and its right "to defend itself" against Palestinians resisting Israeli occupation", the article read.

Keyes said the United Nations envoy's comments "made peace harder to achieve by distorting history and global law".

"Jews have been in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for thousands of years, and their presence there is not an obstacle to peace", the statement said, referring to the biblical names for the West Bank.

Palestinians demand the territory for their future state.

"Rather, it is the unceasing efforts to deny that historical connection". Some 200,000 Israelis live in east Jerusalem.

"We are ready to participate in any regional or global initiative with the objective of a comprehensive and fair solution", presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said in a statement.

A Kremlin spokesman said Monday there was "nothing concrete" yet on such a meeting.

US -negotiated peace talks collapsed over two years ago, in part over the issue of settlements. The ministers proposed an global conference to further talks between the two sides by the end of the year without setting a date.

The Palestinians strongly support the French initiative, but Israel has rejected it, calling instead for direct negotiations.

Abbas and Netanyahu last met officially in 2010, but it is believed that since then they have held secret meetings.

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