UN chief
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UNITED NATIONS, Jan 19 (APP):UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Israel to halt and reverse its this week’s decision to approve almost 800 new settlement united, most of which are located deep inside the occupied West Bank.

The decision, which came days before the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden, is a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution, and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, the UN chief said in a statement issued on Monday afternoon.

The establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law, Guterres said.

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Settlement expansion, further erodes the possibility of ending the occupaation and establishing a contiguous and viable sovereign Palestinian State, based on the pre-1967 lines, he added.

The Israeli action has previously been condemned by the European Union, the United Kingdom, Israeli opposition members and left-wing watchdog Peace Now, among others.

Peace Now said that over 90 percent of the homes would be built deep inside the West Bank, which the Palestinians seek as the heartland of a future independent state, and over 200 homes would be located in unauthorized outposts.