Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to meet United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon next week in New York and is likely to urge him
not to support a Palestinian bid for unilateral statehood, government officials
told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday night.
The meeting comes as tension
continues to mount between Israel and the UN, whose bodies often single out
Israel and accuse it of breaking international law.
Knesset blasts UNESCO resolutions
The old/new unilateral threat
On Wednesday, the
Foreign Ministry suspended cooperation with the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization with respect to all activities related to the Cave of Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny
Ayalon said that relations with UNESCO with regard to these two sites would not be restored until it retracted
its statement last week that two ancient biblical sites were an integral part of the “occupied”
Ayalon said that the Palestinian Authority was
behind the statement, which he added, was issued by the automatic Arab majority
on the UNESCO board.
It is another attempt by the PA to delegitimize Israel, he said.
These kinds of decisions only serve
to distance any change for peace and understanding between the two nations,
Ayalon said. It also turns UNESCO into a “rubber stamp” for the PA, he
On Tuesday Ayalon accused the PA of replacing violence with a
political campaign to delegitimize Israel in the eyes of the international
In recent months, Palestinians have increasingly spoken of
bypassing Israel and turning to the international community through the United
Nations to seek formal recognition of a state along the pre-1967
On Monday, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa told Fox
News Radio that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab League want to the
United Nations to lead the peace process with Israel.
The league will
give the US a chance to break the current stalemate in negotiations, but there
is no reason why the peace process should not be led by the UN, he
“I’ll tell you, in all candor, that the prevailing view is that the
peace process has failed,” he said.
Palestinians have insisted that they
will only negotiate with Israel if it halts settlement construction, or, at the
very least, reinstates its moratorium on new building in the settlements, which
expired on September 26.
The US and the international community have also
called on Israel to renew the moratorium.
Israel has refused to do so and
has called on the Palestinians to hold direct negotiations without
Still, right-wing politicians fear that Netanyahu might
still give in to international pressure, even as they remain hopeful that the US
will reduce its pressure on Israel now that the Tuesday’s midterm elections gave
the Republicans a majority in the House of Representatives.
premier leaves for the US, he will meet with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar
Suleiman, who will be in Israel on Thursday.
During his five-day trip to
the US, which starts on Sunday, Netanyahu is not expected to meet with with US
President Barack Obama, who will be in Asia at the time.
however, meet with Vice President Joe Biden in New Orleans, at the start of his
trip. Both men will be there to address the annual General Assembly of
the Jewish Federations of North America.
Netanyahu will then travel to
New York, where he will meet Ban on Monday. He expected to solicit Ban’s support
for a negotiated peace process, according to government officials. But
the agenda for that meeting has yet to be finalized, the officials
Netanyahu is also expected to meet with US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, though a meeting has yet to be scheduled.
the Knesset on Wednesday, Netanyahu threw his support behind a US-led peace
process and thanked Obama for all his efforts on Israel’s behalf.
greatly appreciate the efforts being made by President Obama’s administration to
find a way to advance the political process. I know we have the desire to
advance it, and we are taking action, as we have in the past,” he
He called on the Palestinians to hold direct talks and to drop
their conditions for such negotiations.
“I hope,” he said, that the PA is
“not looking for excuses to avoid direct talks with us that would advance
security and peace between us.”
He said that Israel has refrained from
issuing its own conditions, but insisted that the Palestinians fulfill their
obligations, such as halting incitement, said Netanyahu.
presented to the security cabinet that morning, he said, showed that Israel’s
right to exist had been negated in PA school books and in the PA-controlled
“I mention this here not to dwell on this matter, but rather to
demonstrate that preconditions could be brought up,” he said. He explained to
the Knesset that a mechanism had been created to monitor the
Netanyahu defended Israel’s commitment to peace and to a
negotiated agreement with the Palestinians.
Should the peace process
fail, he said, “It did not fail because there was a lack of activity by the
Israeli government. It failed because of the assumption made by the PA that
perhaps they could circumvent or avoid the need for direct negotiations by
moving straight on to international dictates or coercion,” he said.
Palestinians, have assumed that the international community would back them, he
He warned the Palestinians that if they continue to pursue this
course, “we will seriously examine whether or not we have a partner for peace
Jordana Horn contributed to this report.