In Ramallah, UN Chief Condemns Israeli Settlements as Obstacle to Peace

'There is no plan B to the two-state solution,' Secretary-General Guterres said after meeting with the Palestinian prime minister

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, meets with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah, August 29, 2017.
Mohamad Torokman/AP

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lashed out at Israel's settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories on Tuesday, calling it a "major obstacle" to achieving a two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians.

"There is no plan B to the two-state solution," Guterres said after meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"A two-state solution, end to occupation, creating conditions to end the suffering of the Palestinian people are the only way to guarantee that peace is established," he added.

The UN chief's statements came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed not to remove any Israeli settlements from the West Bank.

"We returned here in order to stay here forever," Netanyahu said on Monday at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Israel's capture of the West Bank.

Hamdallah warned that the settlements are gradually contributing to the fading of the two-state solution, by which a Palestinian state would be established in the West Bank and Gaza alongside Israel.

Hamdallah added that the US peace team, led by White House advisor Jared Kushner, has not answered the Palestinian team's questions on where the US stands regarding Israeli settlements and the two-state solution.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lays a wreath of flowers on the tomb of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, August 29, 2017.
JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP

Kushner and his team informed the Palestinian officials that they would answer the Palestinian team within the next few weeks, Hamdallah said.

Guterres is expected to visit the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the third leg in his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.