Ron Prosor: Palestinians 'far from ready' for statehood

Israel's envoy to UN tells UNSC members Arab Spring shows Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only small part of turmoil transforming ME.

By JORDANA HORN, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
October 24, 2011 18:04
3 minute read.
Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor

Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor 311. (photo credit: Shahar Azran)

 
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NEW YORK – “The Palestinians are far from meeting the basic criteria for statehood, including the test of effective control,” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor told members of the UN Security Council on Monday.

“The President of the Palestinian Authority has zero authority in the Gaza Strip.

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Before flying 9,000 km. to New York to seek UN membership, President Abbas should have driven 50 km. to Gaza, where he has been unable to visit since 2007.”

Prosor also referenced Hamas’s role in the Palestinian Authority as being inherently problematic: “In the same breath that they claim their state will be “peace-loving,” Palestinian leaders speak of their unity with Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization. Hamas and “peace-loving”? There is no greater contradiction in terms.”

“At this critical juncture, the Palestinians’ true friends will encourage them to put aside the false idol of unilateralism and get back to the hard work of direct negotiations,” Prosor said.

Prosor decried Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s remarks to the United Nations General Assembly in September, in which the Palestinian leader did not mention any Jewish tie to the land of Israel, as being inherently offensive and problematic.

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Abbas, he added, “denied 4,000 years of Jewish history.

It was not a small omission. It was not an oversight. The Palestinian leadership attempts to erase the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

“Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu stood in this hall last month and issued a clear call to President Abbas,” Prosor said. “Let me reiterate that call today to the Palestinians. Sit down with Israel. Leave your preconditions behind. Start negotiations now.”

Prosor called settlements a “pretext” for Palestinians to avoid negotiations with Israel, and said their bid for UN statehood is far-fetched and a “march of folly.” Prosor told council members that while Arab countries are more prone to make excuses than peace, direct negotiations and hard work will be essential to creating harmony in the Middle East.

“The choice before us is clear – and it has never been more critical to make the right choice for the future of the Middle East and all its inhabitants,” Prosor said. “It is time for this Council to stop ignoring the destructive forces that seek to keep the Middle East in the past, so that we can seize the promise of a brighter future.”

Prosor noted that both Iran and Syria proffer “a future of more extremism, greater violence and continued hate.

Their vision will not liberate human beings, it will enslave them. It does not build, it destroys.”

The ambassador noted that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was but one element of the political dynamic operating in the Middle East, saying that overall, “for generations, the Arab world has failed miserably to address the needs of its own people.”

“Young people struggle without access to jobs and education. Women are denied basic rights. Free expression is repressed. Minorities are persecuted.

Elections are a sham,” Prosor recounted. “And with their world in flames, Arab leaders continue to blame Israel and the West for all their problems. For years, it’s the only explanation that they have been able to offer to their own people.”

Prosor cited the Arab Spring as an indication that the Arab people want “real answers” to their problems rather than simple scapegoating.

He also referenced the return of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, and said that even the Arab world noticed the way Israel treated its citizens in comparison to the way the Arab world treats theirs.

“On Twitter, one Syrian blogger, Soori Madsoos, wrote ‘Their government is prepared to pay the ultimate price for one citizen, while our government kills us like we are animals and our Arab neighbors say that it’s an internal matter.’”

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