A key architect of the long-awaited U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace lashed out at the U.N.'s "anti-Israel bias" Thursday while urging support for the Trump administration's "vision" -- but the Palestinian foreign minister dismissed the U.S. peace effort, saying all indications are it will be "conditions for surrender."
The speeches by U.S. envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt and top Palestinian diplomat Riad Malki at an informal Security Council meeting ended up focusing on much broader issues than the chosen topic -- Israeli settlements at the "core" of the "obstruction of peace."
Greenblatt said it was "surprising and unfair" that Indonesia, Kuwait and South Africa organized the council meeting and condemned Israel's behavior when it "was not even invited to speak at this session." He added that it was "inspiring" to see Israel celebrate the 71st anniversary of its independence on Thursday, calling it "a small brave country" that grew to a "thriving, diverse economically vibrant democracy," the only one in the Mideast.
He called the council's "obsessive" focus on Israeli settlements a "farce," saying settlements aren't keeping Israel and the Palestinians from negotiating peace, and said the council should instead condemn Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for recently firing hundreds of rockets into Israel from Gaza.
The council should also focus on the Palestinian practice of paying the families of "terrorists" rather than on how the United States could support the Palestinian Authority's budget, Greenblatt said. The Trump administration has drastically cut its support for the Palestinians to try to spur their return to negotiations.
The Palestinians pre-emptively rejected any peace proposal floated by the Trump administration amid concerns it would fall far below their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem -- which they want as their capital -- and Gaza, lands captured by Israel in the Six Day War. Their demand for a two-state solution is supported by the U.N. and almost all of its 193 member-states.