UNITED NATIONS: - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday urged Israel to freeze all settlement activity in West Bank. In a statement issued by his press office, Ban expressed deep concern about the announcement of the initial approval by the Ministry of Defense of 20 residential units in the Israeli military post of Maskiyot in the West Bank. "The secretary-general has stressed many times before that settlement construction or expansion is contrary to international law," the statement said. It is also contrary to Israel's commitments under the international plan for Middle East peace, known as the Road Map, and the Annapolis process, the statement added, referring to the peace process launched in the United States city of that name late year. Ban urged Israel to heed the call of the Middle East Quartet --the diplomatic grouping comprising the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States -- to "freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001."