UN Envoy: UNSC can Force 'Peace Framework'

In ironic call given freeze now in place, envoy Serry says Jewish construction 'kills possibility of peace' in his very last report.

Ari Yashar, | updated: 18:01

Robert Serry
Robert Serry
Reuters

The outgoing UN Middle East envoy said in his last report Thursday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's new coalition government must freeze Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for "peace."

The Jewish building threatens to "kill the very possibility of reaching peace," Middle East coordinator for the UN Security Council Robert Serry said.

"I frankly do not know if it is already too late" to revive peace talks aimed at the establishment of a Palestinian state, he added, according to AFP.

"The minimum conditions of trust cannot be restored without the new Israeli government taking credible steps to freeze settlement activity," the Dutch diplomat told the 15-member council.

"Illegal settlement activity cannot be reconciled with the objective of a negotiated two-state solution and may kill the very possibility of reaching peace on the paradigm of two states for two peoples," Serry said.

The envoy said he was "frankly concerned" by Netanyahu's pre-election remarks in which he said no Palestinian state would be founded if he was re-elected - a statement he quickly distanced from, urging the incoming Israeli government to "quickly demonstrate in words, and more importantly by actions" a commitment to peace.

Serry, who served seven years as the UN's point man on the Middle East, told the council in his parting thoughts that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process had become a "can (that) is kicked down an endless road."

He suggested that the Security Council could step in, at the appropriate time, to present a "framework for negotiations, including parameters" to
achieve peace, a statement that comes after US President Barack Obama threatened he may support a push for recognition of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a state at the UN.

Serry will be replaced by Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov, who has served as the UN envoy in Iraq.

The last round of talks, pressed on Israel by US Secretary of State John Kerry, were torpedoed by the PA last April when it unilaterally joined international treaties in breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords, and signed a unity deal with the Hamas terrorist organization.

The call for a freeze on Jewish construction is somewhat ironic given that Netanyahu has been reportedly implementing a covert freeze on Jewish construction in the region since late 2013, when he chose to release 104 Arab terrorists (eventually 78 were freed) as a "gesture" to the US-initiated talks, but secretly froze construction as well.

That freeze was most recently given testimony this week as a plan to build 1,500 housing units in the southwestern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa was cancelled without reason. Netanyahu had promised construction in a speech at the same neighborhood before last week's elections, in which he won.

Daniel Seidemann, director of the leftist Terrestrial Jerusalem group, told AFP that the decision not to build in Har Homa was meant to keep the possibility of creating an Arab capital in eastern Jerusalem connected to Bethlehem and the Arab majority areas of Judea and Samaria.

Another ironic facet in the UN call is that the EU was recently exposed by the Regavim movement to be building illegal Arab settlements in Area C of Judea and Samaria, areas meant to be under full Israeli jurisdiction according to the Oslo Accords which the EU signed onto.




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