A masked Palestinian protester holds a knife during a protest near the Israeli border fence in northeast Gaza.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel rejects any diplomatic initiative that would allow the Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations, gives them any kind of political benefit from the current violence, and does not demand immediate cessation of Palestinian Authority incitement, a government official said on Thursday.
The official’s comments came as New Zealand’s nonresident ambassador, Jonathan Curry, met Thursday afternoon with National Security Council head Yossi Cohen to discuss the country’s draft UN Security Council resolution calling on the sides to return to talks and desist from measures poisoning the atmosphere.
For Israel this would mean not expanding settlements, and for the PA it would mean stopping its moves to take Israel to the International Criminal Court.
Curry, who is stationed in Ankara and comes to Israel on about a monthly basis for meetings, also met on the issue with top officials in the Foreign Ministry.
Israel has not formally responded to the New Zealand proposal, which one Israeli official said remains “amorphous.”
“It is not as if they have presented a concrete proposal,” the official said, adding that the purpose of the meetings with Curry was to understand the idea.
New Zealand is one of the 10 temporary members of the 15-country UN Security Council.
Each temporary member serves for two years, and New Zealand’s term is over at the end of 2016.
Diplomatic officials maintain that the driving force behind the proposal is New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
At last week’s Security Council debate on the Middle East, McCully said: “If the conditions are not right for direct talks, then surely it is the council’s role to try to create the right conditions. If the parties are not ready, then surely the council should tell them to get ready, help them get ready and give them a time frame within which to get ready.
“While those guilty of acts of violence must take responsibility for them, and be held to account, the council must take responsibility for the failure of the diplomatic and political process and move to resolve it.”
In a related development, Netanyahu met Thursday with visiting Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who said he appreciates the friendship between the two countries that is expressed in various international forums.
Honduras was one of three Latin American countries – in addition to Paraguay and Uruguay – that voted against an anti-Israel resolution at the IAEA board of governors meeting in September.
That motion was voted down 61-43.
Hernandez was accompanied on his visit to Israel by his defense, foreign, agriculture, and infrastructure ministers, as well as the head of the Honduran armed forces.
“We are here to strengthen the fact that Honduras in a friend of Israel and we will continue to support you in the spheres of security and freedom,” he said. The Honduran delegation followed by just a couple days the visit earlier this week of Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado.