Security Council
Photo: AFP

US, UK and Germany: End settlement construction

During Security Council session, Western states call on Israel to halt Jewish construction in territories, quell violence against Palestinians. Israeli ambassador: Insistence on 'right of return' main obstacle to peace

WASHINGTON – The US, Britain and Germany leveled harsh criticism at Israel's settlement construction policy on Tuesday.


During a Security Council session, US Ambassador Susan Rice urged Israel to halt all settlement construction in the West Bank and work to quell settler violence against Palestinians. She also expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza.


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Washington's representative in the UN also criticized Palestinian incitement to violence and terrorist activity, including the launching of rockets towards Israeli territory. Rice also said the recent talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Jordan were encouraging.


British Ambassador to the UN Mark Grant accused Israel of employing violence in the territories and called on the Jewish state to halt all settlement construction, including in east Jerusalem.


Germany's UN ambassador, Peter Wittig, said Israel was attempting to detach east Jerusalem from the West Bank, a move he claimed would make the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible.


In his response to the criticism, Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor told the Security Council, "The primary obstacle to peace is not settlements. The primary obstacle to peace is the so-called 'claim (right) of return.' Let me repeat that: the major hurdle to peace is the Palestinian’s insistence on the so-called 'claim of return.'"


"You will never hear Palestinian leaders say 'two states for two peoples'. If you ever hear them say 'two states for two peoples', please phone my office immediately. Call me 'collect' in the event of such an unprecedented occurrence," he said.


"You won’t hear them say 'two states for two peoples' because today the Palestinian leadership is calling for an independent Palestinian state, but insists that its people return to the Jewish state. This would mean the destruction of Israel.


Prosor continued to say that "the idea that Israel will be flooded with millions of Palestinians will never be accepted. The international community knows it. The Palestinian leadership knows it. But the Palestinian people aren’t hearing it. In a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion last November, 90% of Palestinians said that they would not give up the 'claim of return.' This gap between their perception and reality is – and will remain – the major obstacle to peace.


"Since the Palestinian leadership refuses to tell the Palestinian people the truth, the international community has the responsibility to tell them the truth. You have a responsibility to stand up and say that the so-called 'claim of return' is a non-starter. Yet, many around this table who never miss an opportunity to tell Israel what it has to do for peace – mumble, stutter and conveniently lose their voices when it comes time to tell the Palestinian people about the basic compromises they will have to make for peace," the Israeli envoy said.


He added: "The Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state goes hand-in-hand with a culture of incitement in mosques, schools and media. Day after day, children are taught to pursue violence – and to hate, vilify, and dehumanize Israelis and Jews.


"Let me be clear. I am not only talking about Hamas in Gaza— but also about the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, where you can’t turn a corner without seeing terrorists and terrorism glorified," said Prosor.




פרסום ראשון: 01.24.12, 22:11
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