A United Nations Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK — PLO ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour told the Security Council on Wednesday that, at the request of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, he would present a draft resolution that “contain[s] elements of parameters [of withdrawal] with a time frame to end the occupation.”
Jordan called the emergency session to discuss the Middle East and the “question of Palestine,” following a letter from the Palestinians addressed to the Security Council and the UN secretary-general, to meet and discuss the plans to build over the Green Line approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.
“Israel is still insisting that they are not occupiers in complete contradiction with [the] resolution of the Security Council,” Mansour said in his address. “They are not listening or abiding by your will, and as long as they continue not to listen, peace will not move forward.”
Mansour went on to assert that “east Jerusalem has always maintained an Arab and Islamic identity and will continue to do so.” Illegal Israeli actions “are severely exacerbating the conflict and obstructing the peace,” he said.
“While the rest of us are seeking peace and trying any and every initiative aimed at ending this nearly 50-year military occupation and salvaging the two-state solution... Israel is instead expanding and entrenching its illegitimate control over occupied east Jerusalem and the rest of occupied Palestine.”
He ended his speech by appealing to the Security Council to “adopt a resolution reaffirming the fundamental parameters of the two-state solution and delineating a time frame to bring an end to the Israeli occupation.”
Israel’s ambassador Ron Prosor slammed the Palestinian statement about east Jerusalem maintaining an Arab flavor, saying that “Jerusalem had a Jewish character long before most cities in the world had any character... It was the capital of the Jewish people before Homer wrote the Iliad.”
Abbas is orchestrating a campaigned to vilify Israel, “and you [the Security Council] seem happy to play second fiddle,” Prosor said.
The Palestinian authorities have been bulldozing archeological sites in an attempt to erase history, he added.
“If the Palestinians wish to secure a brighter future, they must stop rewriting history and start making history by making peace,” Prosor said. “The people of Israel are not occupiers and we are not settlers. Israel is our home and Jerusalem is the eternal capital of our people.”
Prosor reiterated his statements to reporters at a stakeout after the meeting, saying that “building housing units in Jerusalem, in places where there are Jewish neighborhoods, is something that we will continue to do.” When a reporter asserted that such building was illegal, Prosor responded “It is not illegal, and it’s important for us to remember that Jerusalem is not a settlement. It was the capital of the Jewish people when other capitals were still swamps.”
When asked what he thought of the proposed Palestinian draft resolution, the ambassador accused the Palestinians of “trying to circumvent negotiations by trying to impose things from the outside. Only through direct negotiations will the Palestinians be able to build a Palestinian state and build peace.”
Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman called the announcement of the new settlements, as well as the recent terror attacks, “worrisome developments.” He admonished the Israeli government for not reversing their settlement activity, and pointed to it as one of the major causes for why things weren’t getting better.
“The reality is that continued settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is doing significant damage to any possibility of a lasting peace between the two sides, and is moving the situation ever closer to a one-state reality,” Feltman said.
In response to the proposition of a new resolution address Israel and the future Palestine, Feltman also boldly asserted that maybe it was time for the council to re-think their approach to the conflict. “We wonder if the current paradigm, almost 50 years into the conflict, does not require revisiting our engagement thus far,” he said.