Chance for Israeli-Palestinian peace process seriously endangered

Israel’s decision to break off talks with the Palestinians after a Fatah-Hamas unity deal, has endangered the chance to achieve the advocated peace option of the two state solution

Israel’s decision to break off talks with the Palestinians after a Fatah-Hamas unity deal, has endangered the chance to achieve the advocated peace option of the two state solution

UNITED NATIONS - Amid the current political stalemate the United Nations has challenged both Israel and Palestine to move the peace process forward among themselves and reflect on hard choices. 

Israel’s decision to break off talks with the Palestinians after a Fatah-Hamas unity deal last week, has endangered the chance to achieve the preferred mutual coexistence option, said Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process on Tuesday.

“This is a time for the parties to reflect whether they wish to live up to their stated commitment to the two state solution, or whether they will by default let it slip further away,” Serry told the UN Security Council during its regular monthly open debate on the Middle East. 

Both parties should realize that “not making a choice is the most detrimental choice of all,” he said. 

Serry called for additional efforts to work through the recognized impasses while drawing attention to ongoing issues that could further derail talks such as the building of Israeli settlements in disputed areas. 

The situation in East Jerusalem “remains worrisome as tensions and clashes in the Old City continue,” Serry said. And “we must not forget Gaza, where practical steps are urgently needed to improve the humanitarian and security situation.”

Serry noted that 2013, was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2009.

All are factors that stop the peace initiative for which there is almost an international consensus but no will at the local level, the UN envoy said.  

And U.S. brokered peace efforts, launched mid-year in 2013, have faltered so far given the inability of the parties to bridge the gaps on their positions or accept, even with reservations, a U.S. negotiating framework, he said. 

Hamas was not part of the U.S. brokered talks.

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