land day protest 311.
(photo credit: AP)
To protest the
“biased” nature of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable
Rights of the Palestinians, Israeli officials will not attend that
organization’s two-day international meeting on the peace process, which
opens in Turkey on Wednesday.But for the Turkey
he said, there were three Israeli cancelations among those who had been
invited to participate in the conference’s panel of experts.
“We don’t want to attend those
meetings when they are based on an anti-Israeli narrative,” Israel’s
deputy permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Daniel Carmon,
told The Jerusalem Post.
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resolution that created the committee and its meetings failed to
recognize a two-sided conflict, he said. ”So from this perspective,
Israeli government officials are not attending those meetings.”
said the practice was not unique; similar meetings are also avoided by
“It’s a practice of Israel not to send Israeli
government officials to those meetings, under the logic that those
meetings are based upon one of so many anti-Israeli resolutions that are
adopted with an automatic majority at the General Assembly,” he said.
is helpful is direct talk between us and our neighbors, between us and
our partners to peace,” he said, “This is not being done in politicized
meetings of the Committee of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian
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He took issue with the the theme of the meeting, “Ending
the occupation and establishing the Palestinian state.”
cited this as evidence to the unbalanced tone the conference was likely
“Until the UN General Assembly resolutions become
balanced and recognize the fact that the conflict between us and the
Palestinians, or the process between us and the Palestinians, is a
two-sided process, you probably won’t see Israeli government officials
attending those politicized seminars and meetings,” Carmon said.
Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the invitation to Israel to the
conference had been half-hearted.
Although Israel, along with the
Palestinians, is at the center of the event, Israel received the same
generic invitation that was issued to all 192 UN member states ”We are
talking about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We are
not just one invitee among others,” Palmor said.
about an event of this kind, a carbon letter through the mail does not
constitute a direct invitation, he said.
For a conference of this
type, the UN should have been in direct dialogue with the Israelis to
explain the program, solicit their input and explain how they could
contribute, Palmor said.
UN political affairs officer Brenden
Varma said in response: “We would greatly appreciate a dialogue with Israel.
The committee has strongly supported the objective of two states, Israel
and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized
borders. We would welcome any engagement with Israel.”
noted, however, that “historically the Israeli government has chosen
not to work with this committee.”
The meeting’s goal is to
provide a forum to exchange ideas on the peace process and building a
Palestinian state on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.
explore past negotiations, the role of third-party mediators and
In the absence of
Israel governmental participation, Varma said that at
this event and in the past the committee has solicited the attendance
of MKs and members of civil society.
was MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima), who told the Post
he canceled because of the great number of Knesset meetings and votes
this week on issues for which he was an advocate.
As a result,
out of the 17 experts who are slated to speak, the only Israeli present
will be Danny Seidemann from the non-governmental Jerusalem
organization Ir Amim. At least two Palestinian representatives are on
the panels: Nemer Hammad, a political adviser to Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas and Bassam al-Salhi, the general secretary of
Palestinian People’s Party.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey, the
secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, is
also expected to speak, as is the UN special coordinator for the Middle
East peace process, Robert Serry, who will deliver a message from the
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
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