Abbas UN 311.
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
In a message read at
the UN headquarters in New York Monday, Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas called West Bank settlements a "time bomb."
As the UN commemorated International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a message from Abbas
was read, saying that the deterioration in the peace process "requires bringing a
decisive and final end to the vicious Israeli settlement campaign."
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PA president's statement continued by saying that continued settlement "constitutes a
time bomb that could destroy everything we have accomplished on the
road to peace, at any moment."
Responding to what he called "destructive rhetoric," Israeli UN envoy
Meron Reuben retorted, "It takes two to tango, Israel cannot reach peace
on its own."
Reuben added, "We can only achieve peace with the Palestinians through
compromise and direct and bilateral negotiations." "We can only move forward through bilateral negotiations that
address the concerns of both sides," he said.
For his part, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke candidly on the
issue, saying that there was "little optimism." Addressing the issue of settlements, the secretary-general
said that continued building constitutes "a serious blow to the
credibility of the political process."
Ban Ki-moon, however, did not direct his statements solely at Israel. He made it clear that the Palestinians "must continue
to roll out the institutions of statehood, combat terrorist attacks and