Israel warned Thursday night that a new bid by the Palestinian Authority to condemn Israel’s West Bank settlements at the UN would only serve to diminish hopes of peace.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said PA President Mahmoud Abbas “is taking a step that will push negotiations further away. The only way to advance peace is by direct negotiations and [Abbas] is avoiding this.”
Apparently seeking to undermine PA criticism of the settlements, Netanyahu added that “Palestinians educate their children on a daily basis that the settlements are Tel Aviv, Haifa and Acre.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said the Palestinians were “trying to deceive the international community by pushing initiatives that don’t help either side.”
The PA, he said, “must understand that there are no shortcuts. The only path to moving negotiations forward begins with denouncing terrorism and stopping incitement, and ends with direct negotiations between the sides.”
Over the past week the PA reportedly distributed a draft resolution among several representatives of UN Security Council member-states condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Abbas aims to present the resolution for a vote during his visit to the UN in two weeks, Haaretz reported Thursday.
Earlier this year, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the world body, suggested that a resolution condemning Israel’s expansion of Israeli settlements could be a first step toward reviving peace prospects, but he stressed that there should be a broader plan.
Mansour said such a plan may include the creation of an international support group, the deployment of observers to trouble spots or the convening of an international peace conference.
The United States used its veto in 2011 to block a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements, and it has rejected a direct UN role in the peace process.
The council has not adopted a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since 2009.
A spokesman for Abbas said Wednesday that the Palestinian leader will meet France’s Francois Hollande in Paris later this month to discuss a new French push for peace
Abbas “will have an important meeting with President Francois Hollande to discuss convening an international peace conference in accordance with the French initiative,” spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.