Middle East

UN chief condemns Israeli settlement activity

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned Israeli plans to build a new settlement and establish an industrial zone in the West Bank.

Spokesman Farhan Haq said Tuesday that Ban was particularly concerned that "the establishment of a new settlement near Shiloh will make the prospect of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state more remote."

Settlement monitoring group Peace Now said Saturday that the Israeli government approved plans to build 98 housing units as well as the creation of a new industrial zone west of Ramallah.

"The Secretary-General urges Israel to halt and reverse such counterproductive decisions in the interests of peace and a just final status agreement," Haq said.

Palestinians want their new state in the West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital.