Israeli settlement hinders two-state solution, peace: United Nations chief

Netanyahu pressed Guterres on the United Nations peacekeeping force in neighbouring Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, with Israeli officials having accused it of "blindness" to what they call an arms build-up by Hezbollah.

The accusation came August 28 when U.N. Secretary General António Guterres made his first official visit to the region.

It came as Israeli lawmakers visited Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Tuesday for the first time in two years.

They note the White House has not even clearly committed to a two-state solution to the conflict, in contrast to longstanding USA policy.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Monday that Iran is building sites in Syria and Lebanon to build missiles.

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Guterres pointed to "complexities" in the peace process and noted one area of disagreement concerns activities in Israeli settlements - something about which multiple United Nations bodies have complained.

"Needless to say, the administration's policy is 'when not if, '" the source added, referring to statements the U.S. officials made when signing the waiver promising that the move would take place during Trump's presidency.

Guterres spoke of improving economic and social conditions for Palestinians to provide them with a "dividend" and incentive for peace.

"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. To avoid genuine "bias" in their pursuit of peace, future USA policymakers will have to accept this fact - and resolve to make indefinite occupation less comfortable for Israel than it now is.

They have said they want to press Guterres on the United Nations peacekeeping force in neighbouring Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, accusing it of "blindness" to what they call an arms buildup by Hizbollah.

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Lebanon also accuses Israel of violating the cease-fire by sending warplanes into its airspace.

On Wednesday, Guterres, who met with Netanyahu on Monday, is expected to visit the Israeli-blockaded, Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Speaking alongside Netanyahu to the press after their meeting, Guterres disclosed what he said was a long-time dream that the Holy Land be home to two states, with a Jerusalem which is shared by three religions.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also condemned the continuing policy of building Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories (East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank).

Israel has carried out several airstrikes in Syria in recent years against convoys or stores of advanced weapons said to be destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

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