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Former Ambassador: No to Negotiations With Unilateral Steps

Israel should not negotiate with the PA so long as it seeks recognition at the UN, says Ambassador Meir Rosenne.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/21/2013, 2:14 AM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Meir Rosenne, who served as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States between 1983 and 1987, said on Wednesday that Israel should not negotiate with the Palestinian Authority so long as it unilaterally asks the United Nations to recognize it as a state.

Rosenne was commenting on the fact that the PA voted for the first time at the UN General Assembly on Monday and claimed the moment as a new step in its quest for full recognition as a country.

Most of the 193 members of the General Assembly stood in applause when PA Ambassador Riyad Mansour cast a vote for a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

"They have to decide whether they are in negotiations with us, or whether they are turning to the United Nations,” Rosenne told Arutz Sheva, noting that the PA has been presenting to the United Nations a map of the Middle East in which Israel does not appear.

“Next week the UN will be holding a day called Palestine Day, and they will present a large map of the Middle East without Israel. How is it even thinkable that we are negotiating with them? On the one hand we discuss the resolution of the conflict, while at the same time the Palestinians make all kinds of offers at the UN without acknowledging our existence.”

Rosenne called on Israel to insist on its basic rights if it wants to continue negotiating with the PA.

“It’s inconceivable that one of the parties will come to negotiate when in fact there is a worldwide attack with calls for a boycott of goods from Israel, not only ones from the settlements, and at the same time Israeli representatives hold negotiations with Palestinians,” he said. “Essentially, the Palestinians today are negotiating with the U.S. to impose a forced agreement upon us.”

The PA became an observer member of the United Nations on November 29 last year. At the time, 138 countries voted in favor of the PA bid, nine countries voted against it, and 41 countries abstained. The PA cannot vote on UN resolutions, but under UN rules, it and other observers such as the Vatican can vote in elections for judges on international courts.

In the months that have passed since the UN vote, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has taken several steps to officially name the areas he controls "the State of Palestine".

On Tuesday, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman blamed Israeli “settlements” in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem as being an obstacle to peace. He failed, however, to condemn the PA’s ongoing incitement against Israel.