WASHINGTON – The end of the West Bank settlement construction moratorium was the center of Monday's UN Security Council session, as Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Taranco claimed such construction was in violation of International Law.
According to Taranco, Israel's refusal to
extend the settlement freeze is to blame for the recent wave of riots in
the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. He also claimed that settlers routinely attack Palestinians and admonished the Israeli government for failing to ensure law and order.
Riyad Mansour, who serves as the Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, accused Israel of
confiscating Palestinian land, colonization, and ignoring the will of the international community by ending the construction moratorium. The freeze must persist throughout the duration of the peace talks, he said.
Mansour further called on the international community to sanction Israel in order to make it meet what he referred to as the same standards all nations are held to.
Jerusalem, he added, Must choose whether to pursue peace with its neighbors or be an "occupier and a violator of human rights."
The Palestinian observer urged the Security Council to impose its decisions on Israel, hinting that the Palestinian Authority might appeal for the UN's recognition in a Palestinian state should peace talks fail.
Monday also saw newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to the UN Meiron Reuven speak before the UN Security Council for the first time.
"I appear before you today and state the profound and enduring wish of my nation to establish peace with the Palestinians. A peace based on security and mutual recognition. A peace that will ensure prosperity for our two peoples," he said.
"Israel has continued to show that it is willing to take bold measures and make difficult decisions in pursuit of peace… Israel has continued to show that it is willing to take bold measures and make difficult decisions in pursuit of peace.
"With a heavy heart, Israel put in place a self-imposed and unprecedented ten-month moratorium on settlement construction… History has shown that (settlements) do not stand in the way of making peace – as seen by peace agreements that were achieved with Egypt and Jordan. Furthermore, when Israel dismantled all of its settlements in the Gaza Strip, it received terrorism and rocket fire on towns and communities in return," he continued.
"A request that Israel recognize a Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people must be met with an acknowledgement that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. After generations of conflict, mutual recognition will be essential in overcoming a long history of incitement, combating terrorism, and establishing peaceful coexistence between our two peoples."