Trump envoy slams UN over ‘tired talking points’ on Israel

Published May 10, 2019, 10:01 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Agence France-Presse

President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy on Thursday berated the UN Security Council for “rehashing tired talking points” criticizing Israel and said an upcoming US peace plan would provide a fresh approach.

Jason Greenblatt told a council meeting that the imminent proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian peace “will be realistic and implementable,” describing it as “the right package of compromises for both sides.”

Jason Greenblatt

“It is time for a new approach,” said Greenblatt, who is working with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement that are to be unveiled in June.

Addressing the council, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki again voiced opposition to the US plan, which is expected to include economic development as a key component.

“This is not a peace plan but rather conditions for surrender and there is no amount of money that can make it acceptable,” said Maliki.

The Palestinians cut off contacts with the Trump administration after it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and have accused the United States of taking a strongly pro-Israel stance.

“We cannot afford not to engage with any peace efforts,” said Maliki, but he added that the US efforts could not be characterized “nor can qualify, as peace efforts, unfortunately.”

European powers along with Russia and China fear the US plan will ditch the two-state solution to the conflict that provides for a Palestinian state to be established as part of a final settlement.

Greenblatt urged council members to “support the parties to get together and to get behind this opportunity.”

– Opposing settlements a ‘farce’ –
The council met for an informal meeting organized by Indonesia, a strong Palestinian supporter, about the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, which the United Nations considers illegal.

Greenblatt dismissed the view that the expansion of Jewish settlements was an impediment to Israeli-Palestinian peace and illegal under international law.

“Let’s stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution,” said Greenblatt. “This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one.”

He criticized the council for taking aim at Israel over the expansion of settlements but failing to condemn the Hamas movement and Islamic Jihad for firing rockets into Israel.

“Instead of seeking accountability for Hamas and Islamic Jihad… we are rehashing tired talking points, some 20 years old,” he argued.

The envoy accused the United Nations of bias against Israel, choosing “the comfort of 700 paper resolutions” condemning Israel instead of confronting the “700 rockets” fired by Palestinian militants.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi described settlement construction as “unacceptable” and urged the council to take a firmer stance against Israel.

“Inaction is not an option,” she said.