U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is chastising Israel for allowing settlements to advance in east Jerusalem and calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for leadership to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Secretary-General Ban was in Jerusalem for talks with the Israeli leader. Their meeting came a day after countries from around the globe pledged $5.4 billion to help rebuild the war-torn Gaza Strip. Large portions of the Palestinian enclave were devastated during the 50-day war between Hamas militants and Israel in July and August.
The U.N. leader said he welcomed Israeli easing of restrictions in Gaza as part of a cease-fire agreement. But Ban said he is "very concerned" about Israel's announcement of plans for the construction of 2,500 homes in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as a capital of a future state.
The U.N. chief said the settlements are "in clear violation of international law" and urged Netanyahu to reverse its decision.
The Israeli leader called on Ban to prevent the Palestinians from taking unilateral measures at the United Nations that he said would "undermine" the chances of reaching a peace deal in bilateral negotiations.