UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and all members of the U.N. Security Council except the United States are criticizing Israel, demanding an immediate halt to new settlement construction which they warned threatening a two-state peace settlement with the Palestinians.

Representatives of the 14 council members stepped to the microphone outside the chamber after their monthly Mideast briefing on Wednesday to denounce the Israeli settlement plans. The council president said they did so because efforts to get all 15 members to agree on a resolution or statement had failed, almost certainly because of U.S. opposition.

Separately, the secretary-general told reporters that Israel's heightened settlement activity "gravely threatens efforts to establish a viable Palestinian state." He urged Israel "to refrain from continuing on this dangerous path."