United Nations, Jan 22 (Agencies): Articulating apprehension over the Palestinians," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has slammed the Jewish nation for continuing with its settlement activities in "occupied" Palestinian territories.
 
"I have repeatedly expressed my regret that Israel has not frozen settlement activities," Ban said at the opening of the 2011 session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held at UN Headquarters.
 
Noting that settlements are "illegal", Ban said, "I deplore the recent demolition of the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem, and I am concerned at continued house demolitions and evictions of Palestinian families in other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory, which heighten tensions."
 
The UN chief further warned that time is running out on the latest round of talks between the parties brokered by the US last September.

Israel's refusal to extend a 10-month moratorium on settlement activity, last September, led to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refusing to enter direct talks with the Israeli side, which had started after a two-year lull.
 
Israel's refusal to stop the settlement activity was also seen as a snub to the Obama administration, which has appealed to the Israeli authorities several times on the grounds that it would jeopardize the peace talks.
 
This week, a draft resolution, sponsored by 122 countries, to condemn Israeli settlements was submitted to 122 countries. But it isn't clear, at this stage, whether the US will veto it or not.