While the Americans are trying to close out the invitations of the Israeli and Palestinian representatives to direct talks in Washington, in New York the two sides are continuing to go head-to-head. Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, stated Tuesday that Israel was committing "war crimes" against his people.
At the monthly meeting of the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, Mansour said that Israel continues to build in the West Bank, confiscating land, clearing land, removing residents from their land, and supporting extremists who commit "terror" against Palestinians in the West Bank.
Mansour said although the Palestinian leadership had not set preconditions to resume negotiations, the basis for any talks would be the '67 borders, Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and solving the refugee problem. "Israel speaks of negotiations without preconditions, but sets conditions on the ground. Settlements are the main obstacle to peace and sabotage any effort to achieve a two-state solution," he said.
Mansour also praised the EU's decision to prevent financial grants to Israeli entities located beyond the Green Line, defining it as a move that helps peace.
In contrast, Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor slammed the decision, saying that it would make things more difficult for the Americans, who were working hard to get renewed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, back on track. He said at a time like this, greater caution should be exercised by all sides and noted that the Palestinians viewed the EU sanctions as a sort of reward for “unilateral” actions they had taken, which ultimately, could keep them from the negotiation table.
Prosor also attacked the UN for its "one-sided" monthly reports on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that the UN made a point of referring to every terrace built in the West Bank, but kept quiet about thousands of terror attacks carried out against Israelis. He noted that the Security Council never mentioned that Palestinian terror doubled itself between 2011-2012.
Ambassador Prosor also welcomed the designation of Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organization by the EU, a necessary move to cut off financing to the movement. At the same time, he criticized the differentiation of the military versus political wings of the group, saying the two were one and the same, and that anything else was an illusion that would not stand the test of time.
In the discussions, the UN's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said that moving forward with the peace process would have a positive effect on the area. He added that there would need to be visible progress before the session of the UN General Assembly begins in September.
He also said that immediate changes would need to take place on the ground, and the sides would need to refrain from potentially damaging activities.
"This is not a time to be idle," Serry said.
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