Abbas to UN: Settlement construction is a 'time bomb'

Israeli envoy to UN responds, "it takes two to tango"; Ban Ki-moon calls settlement building "serious blow to credibility of political process."

Abbas UN 311 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
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 Abbaswas 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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The 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 curb incitement."