BRITISH MP David Burrowes (R) presents a resolution signed by 20 parliamentarians from 16 countries to Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi.
(photo credit: ISRAEL ALLIES FOUNDATION)
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said unilateral steps being taken by the Palestinian Authority against Israel only impede the achievement of peace between the two sides.
Hanegbi was speaking at the Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference of the Israel Allies Foundation in front of parliamentarians from around the world who are supportive of Israel’s diplomatic and political stance in the conflict with the Palestinians.
“The Palestinian Authority is attempting to bypass negotiations in order to avoid the need to compromise, and its efforts in approaching international forums such as the International Criminal Court, the UN Security Council and others are wasting time and prolonging the suffering of both peoples, and prolonging the tragedy of the Palestinian people,” Hanegbi said.
The deputy foreign minister called on the PA “to renew negotiations tomorrow in order to achieve a lasting peace that will ensure Israel does not risk its very existence while guaranteeing that both peoples can live together.”
The PA has in the last few years lobbied increasingly for international recognition for a state of Palestine without an agreement with Israel.
The recently elected prime minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, declared earlier this month that his government would recognize a state of Palestine, while lawmakers in the UK’s parliament voted overwhelmingly on Monday night to also recognize Palestine as a state, although the vote is largely symbolic and is not binding on the British government.
The annual Israel Allies Foundation organization brought 20 parliamentarians from 16 countries around the world for a three-day conference which ended on Tuesday and included security briefings along with visits to settlements in Judea and Samaria, including industrial areas employing Palestinian workers.
The group of parliamentarians signed a resolution in which they declared that any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians should be reached through direct negotiations.
In addition, the resolution called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to “investigate allegations of UNWRA’s alleged complicity with Hamas’s terrorist activity during this summer’s conflict,” in reference to reports that rockets hidden by Hamas in schools operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency – the agency responsible for Palestinian refugees and their descendants – were handed back to the terrorist group when they were discovered.
The parliamentarians also called for future funding of UNRWA to be made dependent on “full transparency and accounting.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Kent Ekeroth – a Swedish MP for the center-right Sweden Democrats party, which is third-largest faction in the Swedish parliament – said that it was “unacceptable” for his country’s prime minister to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state.
He noted in particular that the recently agreed Palestinian unity government is backed by Hamas, which is recognized by the EU as a terrorist organization, and pointed out that the PA government pays salaries to convicted terrorists in Israeli jails.
“The Palestinian Authority is funding terrorists and paying these prisoners with money from the EU, including from Sweden,” Ekeroth said.
He said that the best way to advance the peace process was to exert pressure on the Palestinians, especially to counter ongoing incitement in Palestinian society.
“I don’t see that they are very keen on peace, but what we do see is incitement in schools and mosques from early age. Kids are taught to hate Jews and fire rockets from a very young age, so how do you get them to make peace when this is what they hear from the outset?” he asked.