Israel rebukes UN official over Doha parley

Diplomatic officials slam UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry for taking part in the “International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem.”

Mount of Olives Jerusalem skyline panorama 390 R (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Mount of Olives Jerusalem skyline panorama 390 R
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Israeli diplomatic officials slammed UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry on Sunday for taking part in the “International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem” in Doha, a parley the officials described as a two-day Israel-bashing carnival.
“It is extremely disappointing and infuriating that the UN secretary-general’s envoy, who never finds the time to properly condemn the shootings on Israeli territory from Gaza, has all the time in the world to take part in what is unashamedly an anti-Israel propaganda fest, intended to subvert and deny the very foundations of Jewish history,” one diplomatic official said.
“To dignify this kind of shameless bashing sponsored by the Arab League, and to dignify this with an official UN blessing, is to do a huge disservice to Serry’s mission, to the role of the UN and to the cause of peace,” the official said.
The official said the Doha meeting was not a “respectable conference,” but rather a stage “for the denial of Jewish history and the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Is this the role that Serry wants?” The official added that by taking part in the parley, Serry was “jeopardizing” and “betraying the good relations” Israel had – and wanted to maintain – with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, during his speech to the conference, questioned the Jewish connection to Jerusalem while saying that Israel was “using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem.”
Serry’s spokesman Richard Miron responded by saying that the UN envoy went to Doha as the secretarygeneral’s representative to read a message from him.
Referring to the criticism that Serry did not properly condemn missile attacks from Gaza, Miron said that both Serry and Ban “have repeatedly condemned attacks on Israel,” and that Serry has “been actively involved in trying to bring about calm in the area.”
Serry, who termed the Doha conference an “important international forum,” told the participants during his speech there Sunday that the “status of Jerusalem and other core issues” should be resolved through negotiations. He called on the Palestinians to remain “constructively engaged” in talks with Israel.
He then censured Israel for “continued settlement activity in occupied east Jerusalem as well as in the rest of the West Bank.”
“Home demolitions, forced evictions and the revocation of permanent residency” in east Jerusalem were “also cause for continued deep concern,” he said.
“Access into east Jerusalem remains severely restricted by checkpoints, permits and the barrier, whose route is contrary to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice,” Serry said, without mentioning Israel’s security rationale for those measures.