India voices concern over Israeli settlement activity

United Nations, April 25 (IANS) India has voiced concern over intensification of settlement activities by Israel and the blockade of Gaza, saying if the situation persists it could lead to serious destabilization in the region.

Asoke Kumar Mukerji, India’s Permanent Representative to United Nations, speaking at the Security Council Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question, said the Middle East Peace Process is passing through its most difficult phase in recent times.

“The blockade of Gaza has also continued causing a great deal of hardships to Palestinians. The plight of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails requires immediate attention.”

He said the Palestinian Authority “is facing one of the worst financial crises that threaten to erode the progress made in building Palestinian state institutions. If the present situation persists, the international community will risk a serious destabilization in the region. It is therefore imperative that efforts aimed at breaking the deadlock and resumption of peace process are reinvigorated,” he said, according to a statement.

He said any political process in order to be meaningful must put an end to Israeli settlement activities. “Continuing settlement activities are a violation of international law and harmful to the peace process. We join others in urging Israel to stop settlement activities in order for the Palestinian side to come to the negotiating table.”

While Israel has recently taken some measures to allow flow of essential goods into Gaza, “still the continuing blockade remains in force, and is adversely affecting essential services, economic activities and infrastructure development.

“We continue to call for complete lifting of the blockade. The parties should also fully implement the provisions of the ceasefire agreement reached in November 2012.

“India has consistently supported a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, side by side and at peace with Israel as endorsed in various United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the Quartet Road Map.

India has also partnered Palestine in socio-economic development and extended material assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

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