Wed Jul 13, 2016 09:48AM
Riyad H. Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations ©AFP
Riyad H. Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations ©AFP

Arab states are calling on the UN Security Council not to endorse a report by the so-called Quartet on the Middle East since it is biased toward Israel, Palestinian envoy to the United Nations Riyad Mansour ​says.  

Mansour said Wednesday that during a recent meeting, Arab diplomats agreed to block any move by the Security Council to adopt a US-drafted statement backing the long-awaited report's recommendations.

On July 1, the Quartet comprising the United Nations, the US, Russia and the European Union, published its eight-page report following months of delays.

The text was said to be biased in favor of Tel Aviv as it equally blamed the violence in the occupied lands on the oppressed Palestinians and the Israeli regime.

The report's findings and recommendations are supposed to serve as the basis for reviving the so-called peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The last round of the negotiations collapsed in 2014 over Tel Aviv’s illegal settlement activities and its refusal to release senior Palestinian prisoners.

Mansour said that Egypt, which represents the Arab group on the Security Council, was told “not to allow a statement to be adopted welcoming and endorsing the recommendations.”

The picture taken in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on July 6, 2016 shows road signs indicating the Kiryat Arba settlement (in the background) on the outskirts of the Palestinian flashpoint city. ©AFP

The report has called on the Israeli regime to halt its illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian lands, saying the settlement expansion, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the expropriation of land were “steadily eroding the viability of the [so-called] two-state solution.”

According to Mansour, recommendations concerning Israeli settlements were diluted in the final draft of the report by a “very powerful” member of the quartet, in an apparent reference to the United States.

This was done to undermine a French initiative to hold an international peace conference later this year and to ensure that “the end result would be Israel is gaining and nothing will happen,” he said.

He further said that the Palestinians want the UNSC to “take note” of the report and welcome French and Egyptian initiatives to revive peace talks but it must not endorse it.

On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the council to support the Quartet's findings despite strong opposition from Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the Quartet document, claiming that it “perpetuates the myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank is an obstacle to peace,” while the Palestinians argue that the report failed to single out Israeli policies as the leading cause of the violence.

Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Tel Aviv has defied calls to stop the settlement expansions in the occupied Palestinian territories.