Israel's continued building of settlements and demolition of Palestinians' homes are "provocative acts," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday, warning that such actions can fuel animosity and undermine a political solution.
Ban, who spoke during an open debate of the UN Security Council focusing on the Middle East, reiterated his call to Israel to freeze all settlement activities as a basic requirement for progress towards a political peace process.
"Continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community," the UN chief said.
"These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead."
Ban also warned that Palestinians are living under dire humanitarian conditions, which could fuel frustration and violence.
"As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism," he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Ban's comments on Twitter saying the "remarks give a tailwind to terrorism."
"The UN lost its neutrality and moral force a long time ago and the secretary general's remarks do not improve the situation," Netanyahu tweeted.
Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the UN, responded to Ban's statement saying the UN chief "encourages terror instead of fighting against terror."
"The secretary general forgot what the UN's role is – terror must not be encouraged for any reason whatsoever," Danon said.