Bennett: UN must stop serving terrorists' agenda

In meeting with US diplomats, Abbas threatens to cut ties with Israel

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Yair Lapid, March 27, 2022.  (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Yair Lapid, March 27, 2022.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed disappointment at the United Nations' response to recent Palestinian violence against Israel, in a phone call with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday. 

"The international community must not serve the terrorist organizations' agenda," Bennett warned. 

Bennett said he is disappointed that the UN did not condemn Hamas for shooting rockets at Israel. 

The prime minister said Israel is a "stabilizing force" without whom tens of thousands of Muslims would not be able to pray at the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem. 

Rioters "prepared stones and Molotov cocktails in advance to use from within the mosque," he said. 

 Protesters wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, April 22, 2022. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90) Protesters wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, April 22, 2022. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

Bennett and Guterres also discussed the former's efforts to help negotiate an end to Russia's war on Ukraine. 

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with US administration envoys Yael Lempert, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs on Friday, calling on all leaders in the region to act responsibly to try to bring calm. 

The envoys were dispatched to the region as part of an effort by the US to end the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Lapid expressed appreciation for American efforts. 

“Israel is preordering and will protect the status quo in the Temple Mount and has no intention to change it,” Lapid said, in contrast to the Palestinian narrative inciting the latest riots. 

The Israeli and American officials discussed Jerusalem’s efforts in that respect in recent weeks, with the foreign Minister remarking that hundreds of thousands of Muslims prayed at the Al Aksa Mosque in the first two weeks of the holy month of Ramadan, before the rioting began. 

Israel’s policy is to try to stop the violence and allow prayers to continue as normal, he explained. 

Lapid explained that Israel is “dealing with Islamist extremist terror whose entire goal is to sow violence, fear and chaos.”

In addition, Lapid said Israel will not accept rocket fire from Gaza. 

“Hamas and the world must know that Israel will act and do what is necessary to defend its citizens' security,” he said. 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas again threatened to halt security coordination and suspend Palestinian recognition of Israel during a meeting in Ramallah on Thursday night with Lempert and Amr.

Abbas has repeatedly threatened over the past few years to end the security coordination between the PA security forces and the IDF. He has also threatened to walk away from all signed agreements with Israel.

In 2020, Abbas briefly suspended the security coordination with Israel, though many Palestinians believe the decision was mainly aimed at placating his critics and political rivals.

Earlier this week, Abbas abruptly called off an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership that was scheduled to take place in Ramallah on Sunday night to discuss the implementation of a resolution by the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) to terminate all agreements with Israel, including the security coordination and Palestinian recognition of Israel.

The resolution was announced last February during a three-day meeting of the PCC in Ramallah. A similar decision adopted by the council in 2018 was ignored by the PA leadership.

Abbas’s decision to call off the emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership drew sharp criticism from his political opponents and critics, who said that the move was an indication that the PA was not serious about severing its ties with Israel.

During the meeting with the US diplomats, Abbas demanded urgent intervention from the US administration to “stop Israel’s escalation in the Palestinian territories,” said senior Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh, who attended the meeting.

Sheikh described the meeting as “clear and frank,” adding that Abbas blamed the occupation for the escalation and the absence of a political horizon, which will push us to implement the decisions of the Palestinian Central Council soon.”

A statement published by the PA president’s office after the meeting said that he called on President Biden and his administration “to intervene immediately and urgently to assume their responsibilities, given the seriousness of the situation as a result of the Israeli measures in all Palestinian territories, especially Jerusalem, al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.”

Abbas “stressed the need for an immediate cessation of Israeli attacks and full respect for the legal and historical situation in Jerusalem and the status quo at the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount), holding the Israeli occupation government fully responsible for the deterioration of the situation,” the statement read.

Abbas said that in light of the “political horizon and an Israeli refusal to stop unilateral actions and abide by the signed agreements, the Palestinian leadership will soon have the right to implement the decisions of the Palestinian Central Council,” according to the statement.

The PA president also called on the Biden administration to fulfill its promises to the Palestinians, including the pledge to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem that served as a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians and was closed down in 2018 by the Trump administration.

In addition to al-Sheikh, the meeting was attended by Majed Faraj, head of the PA General Intelligence Service, presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh and diplomatic advisor to the PA president Majdi Al-Khalidi.

The Palestinian Affairs Unit at the US Embassy said that Lempert and Amr met with Abbas and his top advisers “to discuss the need for all parties to call and work for calm, especially in Jerusalem, and our mutual commitment to a two-state solution.”‭