Benjamin Netanyahu's 'shameless bragging' killing peace hopes

Palestinian ambassador to the UN says Israeli PM 'emboldened' by US support

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour speaks at the Security Council's monthly briefing on the Middle East on April 29, 2019. AP Photo
Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour speaks at the Security Council's monthly briefing on the Middle East on April 29, 2019. AP Photo

Israel's threat to annex settlements, including in East Jerusalem, requires an international response beyond condemnation, Palestine's permanent representative to the UN said on Monday.

Riyad Mansour said an emboldened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “shamelessly bragged” about such a plan.

Mr Mansour was speaking at the UN Security Council's monthly briefing on the Middle East, where diplomats began with a moment of silence in respect for the victims of Saturday's fatal gun attack at a synagogue in San Diego.

The prospect of peace between Israel and the Palestinians seems to only grow dimmer, UN undersecretary general Rosemary DiCarlo told the council.

“Hopes for the realisation of a two-state solution continue to be replaced by the rising fears of future annexation," Ms DiCarlo said.

During the period since her last report, Israel advanced at least 2,100 housing units and issued tenders for 950 others, despite such settlements being in breach of international law. Thirty-seven Palestinian structures were destroyed over the same time.

Mr Mansour said an already hobbled peace process was being corroded.

“The outlook has become even grimmer after an Israeli election further entrenching the extreme right that has come to rule Israel as a racist, apartheid state under Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Mr Mansour said.

“The absolute support given to Israel by a permanent member of this council [the US] has only emboldened its flouting of law, further fuelling its human rights violations against our people and colonisation of our land.

“Aided and abetted in its crimes, Israel's expansionist appetite is growing. Just listen to their recent cynical statements on the intent to annex the Israeli settlements.

“Such inflammatory rhetoric, let alone the countless war crimes being carried out every single day in broad daylight, are shamelessly bragged about by the prime minister and other Israeli officials.”

On April 6, three days before Israel's election, Mr Netanyahu said he would annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank if he won another term in office, outraging Palestinians, Arabs and much of the world.

“Clearly, condemnations alone will not suffice. The calls, no matter how gentle or firm, will not be heeded by Israel,” Mr Mansour said.

“It's time to turn words into deeds, solidarity into action. Serious measures must be urgently taken by the international community to hold Israel, the occupying power, to account.”

In response, Israel's permanent representative to the UN, Danny Danon, read from a Hebrew bible, mentioning the Old Testament and the book of Genesis, which he said was proof of Israel's right to disputed territory.

Mr Danon said the Palestinian leadership must recognise the Israeli state and end the incitement of rocket attacks by Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza Strip, if there were to be progress on peace.

Updated: April 30, 2019 09:22 AM

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