The Prime Minister’s Office on Monday lambasted the U.N.’s Middle East envoy after he leveled harsh criticism at the government’s Judea and Samaria settlement construction policies.
Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov – Photo: UN website
Briefing the U.N. Security Council via video conference, Nikolay Mladenov urged Israel to end settlement construction and called for joint efforts to restore hope for the two-state solution.
He accused Israel of “ignoring” the recommendations by the Middle East Quartet, comprising the U.S., Russia, the EU and the U.N., seeking to ensure a return to meaningful negotiations.
“Let me be clear: No legal acrobatics can change the fact that all outposts — whether ‘legalized’ under Israeli law or not, whether located on state land, or absentee land, or private Palestinian land — just like all settlements in Area C and east Jerusalem, remain illegal under international law,” Mladenov told the Security Council.
A statement by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Mladenov’s remarks “are distorting history and international law and are only pushing peace further away. … Jews have been living in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria for thousands of years and they are not the obstacle for peace. The obstacle for peace is the Palestinians’ incessant attempts to deny the Jews’ link to their historical homeland, and their refusal to accept that [Jews] belong here.
“Claiming that Jewish construction in Jerusalem is illegal is as absurd as claiming American construction in Washington or French construction in Paris is illegal,” the statement rebuked. “The Palestinian demand for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from a future Palestinian state is appalling and the U.N. should condemn it — not embrace it.”
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon also condemned Mladenov’s remarks, calling them “a reward to the Palestinians.”
Mladenov’s “statements indicated complete disregard to the facts on the ground. They push the chances of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict further away and illustrate the U.N.’s hypocrisy when it comes to Israel.”
Danon stated that “the State of Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem, its eternal capital, just as other nations build in their capitals without seeking the U.N.’s permission. The U.N. should focus its attention on the real obstacle for a regional solution — the Palestinian refusal to denounce terrorism and resume the peace talks.”
Following Mladenov’s remarks, Palestinian envoy to the U.N. Riyad Mansour urged the Quartet and the international community to supervise Israel in its compliance with international law.
“We call upon the Security Council once again, and the Quartet, and the international community as a whole, that if your position is that the settlements are illegal and the major obstacle in the path of peace, then therefore it is your duty to tell us what are the practical steps that you are going to undertake in order to bring Israel into compliance with its obligation under international law and also under the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations,” he said.