Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Look Who Almost Came To Visit


The United Nations Security Council could support the Palestinians' unilateral bid for statehood if Israel does not renew its freeze on new settlement construction, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry warned Israel on Tuesday.

"If the freeze is not renewed, then yes, maybe this is going to happen," Serry said as he spoke with The Jerusalem Post in an olive grove in the West Bank village of Turmus'ayya, located in the Binyamin Region near the Shiloh settlement.

"If the Palestinians living in this beautiful little town do not see that these things are being rolled back, it is difficult to convince them that we are working toward a two-state solution," Serry told reporters.

...One of the more significant symbols of the Palestinians' desire to struggle for freedom from Israel "occupation" was the olive tree, said Serry.

"There could be nothing more symbolic here in Palestine than to participate in the olive harvest. The harvest is an act of identity and self-reliance. It is a symbol of a people's unyielding attachment to their homeland," he said.

As for Salam Fayyad who was also there:

Fayyad added that the government of Israel should be held accountable for "acts of violence and terrorism committed by settlers against our people."

He called on Israel to stop settlement construction, which he said was illegal under international law. "The youngest of these olive trees, is more deeply rooted in this land than the largest Israeli settlement," he said.

Gee, had I known they were coming, I'd have baked a cake offered to discuss peace, security, Jewish rights and other items with them.

Earlier this year, Hebron with the Cave of the Patriarchs and Bethlehem with the Tomb of Rachel are also problematic for Serry:

In a statement, Robert Serry, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said he was concerned by Israel's announcement regarding the Hebron holy site and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, another shrine Netanyahu wants to include in the heritage plan.

"I call on Israel not to take any steps on the ground which undermine trust or could prejudice negotiations, the resumption of which should be the highest shared priority of all who seek peace," Serry said.

By the way, Haaretz adds from the Reuters report:

A senior UN official condemned attacks by Jewish "settler extremists" on Palestinians' olive trees in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to "combat violence and terror by Israelis."

Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, also said he was alarmed that work had started on hundreds of new homes for settlers in the occupied territory since the end of Israel's settlement freeze last month.
West Bank mosque arson

Serry was speaking to journalists on Tuesday while olive-picking with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the village of Tormos Ayya north of Ramallah. He said settlers had destroyed hundreds of trees in the village in recent weeks.

Palestinians began harvesting olives across the West Bank this month.

"I am appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians," Serry said.

"Israel states its condemnation of attacks, which I welcome, but its record in imposing the rule of law on settlers is lamentable," he said.

"Israel must combat violence and terror by Israelis, as is expected of the Palestinian Authority in the case of violence and terror by Palestinians," he said.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected Serry's use of the term "terror" in reference to Israelis and said he should have chosen his words more carefully.

"We understand that he decries acts of violence by certain settlers, but the Israeli government has been the first to condemn them and to instruct law enforcement agencies to crack down on the perpetrators - but when he speaks of terror by Israelis, does he mean Israeli suicide bombers on Palestinian buses?" spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

So, Arabs who destroy Jewish agricultural property are terrorists, too, Mr. Serry?


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