UN chief ‘deeply troubled’ by Israeli settlements



RAMALLAH, West Bank — U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon says he’s “deeply troubled” by continued Israeli settlement building, warning it will ultimately prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Ban spoke in a news conference Thursday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A day earlier, Israelis and Palestinians launched formal talks on the terms of a Palestinian state after a five-year freeze. The talks were overshadowed by recent Israeli announcements on promoting plans for more than 3,000 new settlement apartments.

The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967. Israel has built dozens of settlements there that are now home to more than half a million Israelis.

Ban says settlement activity is “deepening the Palestinian people’s mistrust in the seriousness on the Israeli side toward achieving peace.”