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Arab League slams Israeli criticism of UN envoy’s settlement remarks

September 1, 2016 at 9:22 am

United Nations (UN) Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov on 1 September 2016

The Arab League has condemned Israel’s criticism of UN Middle East Envoy Nickolay Mladenov after he told the Security Council that illegal Israeli settlement expansion is one of the biggest obstacles to the resumption of peace talks. His remarks came nearly two months after international negotiators offered practical recommendations to enable a return to talks.

“[The Quartet report’s] recommendations continue to be ignored [by Israel], with a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and continuing demolitions,” Mladenov explained.

In a statement quoted by Anadolu, the Deputy Head of the Arab League, Said Abu-Ali, insisted that it is Israel’s robust defence of its settlement programme which undermines peace, not Mladenov’s remarks.

A statement issued by the office of the Israeli prime minister claimed that Mladenov’s comments “distort history and international law, and push peace farther away.” In a typical distortion of their own, the Israelis claimed that, “The obstacle to peace is the unending attempt to deny the Jewish people’s connection to their land and refusal to recognise that they are not foreigners here.”

Abu-Ali accused Israel of disrespecting the international community’s resolutions at the UN, and pointed out that it has never been questioned about this, which encourages the Israeli government to continue with its violations. He called for the international community to bear its responsibility over the Israeli violations of international law and UN resolutions. The issue, he said, is no longer simply related to the situation in Palestine, but is also about achieving international justice and respect for the law.