UN members demand establishment of Palestinian state

The Israeli delegation blasted calls for statehood and ceasefire, which keeps Hamas in power.

By Mike Wagenheim, JNS

At the United Nations’ quarterly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian file on Tuesday, U.N. member states pressed Israel to advance the creation of a Palestinian state.

Drawing intense interest amid Israel’s war with Hamas, the meeting was upgraded to the ministerial level, and was attended by foreign ministers from France, Russia, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Norway, the Palestinian Authority, and elsewhere.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told ambassadors and foreign ministers in attendance that any refusal to accept a two-state solution “must be firmly rejected.”

He added that the “clear and repeated” rejection of a Palestinian state by Israeli leaders “is unacceptable.”

Israel’s U.N. envoy, though, blasted the wide calls on Tuesday for a ceasefire and subsequent start of a political process for Palestinian statehood.

“Shockingly, many here on the Security Council are advocating for a permanent ceasefire, while giving no thought to the implications,” said Ambassador Gilad Erdan. “What do you think will happen if there is a ceasefire? I’ll tell you what will happen: Hamas will remain in power. They will regroup and rearm. And soon, Israelis will face another attempted Holocaust.”

In his address, Erdan attempted to focus attention on Iran, represented at the meeting on Tuesday by its foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

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He recited a host of countries in the region preyed upon by Iran’s terrorism, and the internal destruction in countries in which Iranian proxies hold sway.

“Iran’s terror will reach all of you. We all know this. Even Russia, who collaborates with Iran,” said Erdan, taking a shot at Moscow in what has become an increasingly tense bilateral relationship.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, meanwhile, castigated the United States for repeatedly using its veto power on the council to upend calls for a ceasefire, instead opting for diplomacy.

Lavrov claimed that every time Washington acts on its own in the Middle East, it ends in “ever bloodier escalation.”

He also called out those countries who are leading the planning for the day after Hamas’s rule over Gaza ends.

Palestinians should decide their future for themselves, said Lavrov, noting that “I think that’s what our Western colleagues call democracy.”

The United Kingdom’s representative at the meeting told reporters that London is pushing for the Palestinian Authority to assume control of Gaza. Lord Tariq Ahmad, the U.K.’s Minister of State overseeing the Middle East region, said the United Kingdom envisions a ceasefire in exchange for the full release of hostages held in Gaza, the end of Hamas rule, the resurgence of P.A. governance and a process leading to a two-state solution.

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The meeting was scheduled to continue on Wednesday, as all 70 speakers registered on Tuesday did not have an opportunity to address the council.