Left - wing protesters hold placards during a demonstration in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Two leading Israeli NGOs are set to address an informal session of the UN Security Council on Friday, as it debates the question of whether West Bank settlements are a stumbling block to peace.
The meeting will be held under a process known as the Arria Formula, at the request of Angola, Malaysia, Venezuela, Senegal and Egypt, and is titled “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution.”
It is part of a push by the Palestinians to convince the council to hold a session on the matter and issue a resolution against the settlements.
Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said it is “sad and disappointing that Israeli organizations are providing moral cover for anti-Israel activities at the UN,” especially during the High Holy Days, which he said should be “a time of reflection and prayer for unity amongst our people.”
Peace Now’s Lior Amichai, who heads the group’s settlement watch team, was scheduled to speak at the meeting, but it was decided that the director of policy and government relations for the affiliated Americans for Peace Now, Lara Friedman, will replace him on Friday.
“We are extremely proud that Americans for Peace Now has been invited to address the Security Council on the issue of Israeli settlement policies,” said Debra DeLee, president and CEO of the organization, on Thursday.
DeLee added that the issue of settlements is one on which Peace Now and Americans for Peace Now are “justifiably recognized as the leading experts, both in terms of knowing and in terms of explaining the facts about settlements and their implications for peace and the twostate solution.”
“The facts point to a clear conclusion: the Israeli government’s policy of prioritizing settlements threatens the vital interests of Israel – its people and its national future,” she continued.
Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem – The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, plans to call on the council to take action.
In a statement issued on Thursday, B’Tselem said, “The responsibility for ending the occupation and the human rights violations that it entails lies first and foremost with Israel, yet this reality will not change as long as the international community stands idly by.”