UNITED NATIONS - Reminding the international community that Israels blockade of Gaza had now lasted more than 1,000 days, a top Palestinian diplomat told a UN committee Thursday that the Israeli policies and practices do not give any indication of a change for the better. Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, said that Israel continued on the path of violating international law, including international humanitarian law, particularly with regard to the continuation of settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well other violations in East Jerusalem, such as displacement of residents, evictions, building of settlements-including the approval of 1,600 additional units-and the excavation under the holy sites. The occupying Power-Israel-was thus pushing the conflict into a religious dimension, he said while speaking in the UN committee on Palestinian rights. He said that the prolonged blockade had resulted in an abhorrent situation for the people living there. A report circulated by Israel saying that it was loosening the blockade was exaggerated, characterised by John Ging, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Director of Operations in Gaza, as a drop in the bucket. The latest escalation in Israeli policies had been last weeks acceptance of two military orders by which tens of thousands Palestinians could be deported from the West Bank and East Jerusalem under numerous pretexts, Mansour said. During last weeks Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, many speakers had deplored the Israeli position and had requested Israel to rescind the regulation and not to expel any Palestinian. He noted that whenever Israel had illegally deported Palestinians in the past, the Council had acted and the deportees had been returned. Neither the Council nor the entire United Nations system should allow Israel to open the additional chapter of violations of international law, he stressed. On the political front, the Palestinian diplomat said that the Arab side and the Palestinians had approved the idea of Palestinians participating in proximity talks. Shortly afterwards, the Israeli side had announced its intention to construct 1,600 additional housing units in East Jerusalem, as well as 112 units in Bethlehem. That new obstructionist policy had created a new crisis in the atmosphere of the beginning of proximity talks. The Palestinian position, which was also the global consensus, was that Israel must stop all settlement activity, including natural growth, including in East Jerusalem, in order to give proximity talks any chance of success. In conclusion, he informed the meeting that the Arab Group had sent a letter to the President of the Security Council, the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly about the desecration of the Maman Allah cemetery in Jerusalem, which had been a burial ground for Muslims for over a thousand years. That sacred place, where even some friends of the holy Prophet might have been buried, should not be desecrated by Israel by its construction on it of a Museum of Tolerance.