Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor criticizes channeling of European funds to the PA, saying: "I wonder how taxpayers in London, Luxembourg and Paris would feel knowing that they will enable Hamas to launch more rockets into Israel."
"When I think about the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, there is a predictable pattern on the part of the Palestinians -- demand, delay and desert," Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor told the Security Council on Tuesday, the same day that the nine-month period allotted for the latest round of peace talks elapsed.
Israel recently suspended the negotiations in response to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' unexpected unity deal with the rival Islamist Hamas group, which Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organization.
"Before taking a single step toward the negotiating table, the Palestinian leadership demands that Israel submit to substantial concessions. Once Israel agrees, they drag their feet and evoke every delay tactic in the book. And then, as the deadline approaches and courageous leadership decisions are required, Abbas deserts the talks," Prosor said.
"While Israel makes tangible concessions to advance peace, the Palestinian leadership has let every window of opportunity fly out the window. This goes to the very heart of the problem. The Palestinians pledge dialogue while fermenting hatred. They promise tolerance while celebrating terrorists. And they make commitments almost as quickly as they break them.
"As we speak, millions of dollars are being channeled to the Palestinian Authority. Now that the Palestinians have signed a unity agreement, that funding will be at the disposal of Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization.
"I wonder how taxpayers in London, Luxembourg and Paris would feel knowing that they will enable Hamas to launch more rockets into Israel, kidnap more Israelis, and send more suicide bombers into our cafés."
The Palestinian Authority rushed to respond to Prosor's remarks, with the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Saeb Erekat, lashing out at Israel.
"For nine months, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's government used every possible means to pile obstacles and complications onto the talks, instead of utilizing the allotted time to reach a solution based on the vision of two states," Erekat said Tuesday.
Abbas also reiterated his usual criticism of Israel, saying at an event in Ramallah that without U.S. guarantees and an Israeli commitment to fulfill his terms, the negotiations will not resume. He also repeated his assertion that "east Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Palestinian people."
The U.N.'s top Middle East envoy, Dutch diplomat Robert Serry, said Israel and the Palestinians must decide whether to entrench the current "one-state reality" or find a way to salvage the two-state solution following their failure to reach a peace agreement during a nine-month negotiating period.
Serry, the coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon firmly believes there is a window for a two-state solution. But he said the parties must reflect whether they want to live up to their stated commitment to the two-state solution, or whether they will let it slip further away by default.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told the council Washington would continue to support negotiations between the two sides.
"We have clearly reached a difficult moment, but we continue to believe that there is only one real viable solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: two states living side by side in peace and security," she said. "If the parties are willing to go down the path, this path, we will be there to support them."
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department attempted to downplay Netanyahu's decision Tuesday to postpone a meeting on new settlement expansion plans across Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem. The decision was said to have stemmed from Netanyahu's desire to both allay the international community's concerns and portray Abbas' decision to form a unity government with Hamas as the reason for the deadlock in the peace talks.
Commenting on the decision, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, "There's no doubt that the large number of settlement announcements made during the course of negotiations caused serious problems for the negotiations. And obviously, since we don't recognize them and we know where the Palestinians stand, if those were to cease, certainly that would be a good step. But I'm not going to overstate the benefit of the delay of a meeting."
Meanwhile, senior cabinet ministers, including Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett and fellow party member Housing Minister Uri Ariel, refrained from commenting on Netanyahu's decision, which according to Army Radio stated their acquiescence.
MK Amram Mitzna (Hatnuah) told Army Radio that "the fact the Netanyahu is willing to defer construction may be a sign that there is still a chance to resume negotiations."
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