he UN envoy for the Middle East on Wednesday reiterated that Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory has no legal validity and constitutes a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, recalled at a Security Council meeting that Resolution 2334, adopted in 2016, "clearly states that the establishment of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity."

He said the settlements' establishment also constitutes "a flagrant violation" under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

In the three years since the resolution was adopted, he recalled, plans for over 22,000 units have been advanced or approved in West Bank settlements, including in East Jerusalem, and tenders for some 8,000 units have been issued.

"These numbers should be of serious concern to all those who continue to support the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state alongside Israel," Mladenov said, urging immediate and complete cessation of the Jewish settlements.

He went on to stress that the continued demolitions and seizures of Palestinian structures, including internationally funded humanitarian projects, is also of significant concern, adding that this practice is not in line with international humanitarian law and must stop and affected populations must be duly compensated for damages incurred.

Moreover, the UN envoy noted that reports of increased number of settler-related attacks and harassment are also deeply concerning, particularly around the olive harvest season and in Hebron.

In this regard, he stressed that further measures must be taken to ensure that Israel fulfills its obligation to protect Palestinian civilians from violence, including by Israeli settlers, and to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for such attacks.

In addition, Mladenov cautioned against inflammatory statements, expressing regret over continuing statements on the prospect of annexation of the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank.

Such steps, he said, if implemented, would constitute a serious violation of international law and would be destructive to the realization of the two-state solution and prospects for peace.