Daily Israel Report

UN Message on Negotiations was a Veiled Warning to PA

A diplomatic UN warning, interpreted by media as aimed at Israel, also applies to the PA: “There is no alternative to a negotiated settlement.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 10/19/2010, 1:18 PM / Last Update: 10/19/2010, 1:27 PM

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A diplomatic United Nations warning, interpreted by pro-Arab media as aimed at Israel, also was a veiled message to the Palestinian Authority not to try to ask the international body to declare the PA as a country.

Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco told the UN Security Council on Monday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon believes “if the door to peace closes it will be very hard to open.”  However Taranco added—in statement that was not as widely quoted—that “there is no alternative to a negotiated settlement resulting in the creation of an independent and viable” PA state.

News agencies, such as the Associated Press, told readers that direct talks between PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are stalled because of the issue of building for Jews in Judea and Samaria. The news agency added, "Ban has called those settlements illegal.”

Taranco's remarks as warning to Abbas as well as Israel was noted by the Yemen News Agency SABA, which said his statement was “an apparent attempt to dissuade the PA from unilaterally declaring an independent state or from seeking support to do so from the Council or the General Assembly, as stated by Palestinian officials last week.”

Such a declaration implicitly would have to include borders, whose determination is one of the main objectives of talks with Israel.

Nevertheless, most media and the pro-Arab bloc have concentrated on Monday’s United Nations Security Council condemnation of Israel’s approval for 238 new residential units for Jews in Jerusalem. Egypt suggested that the international community may have to impose conditions for a PA-Israeli agreement.

South Africa declared, “The Security Council has to shoulder its responsibility for ending the Israeli occupation and [for] ensuring the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination is met.”

Despite his warning, Taranco left no doubt that he considers a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and united Jerusalem as contradictory to peace. He also ridiculed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish nation. Israel is using the issue “to evade responsibilities in the peace process and to sabotage the process," he argued.

U.S. Ambassador Brooke D. Anderson, Washington’s Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs, was critical of both Israel and the PA. While reiterating the Obama administration’s “disappointment” over continuation of new building for Jews in areas of Jerusalem claimed by the PA, he added, “We also urge President Abbas to resume negotiations."