The Palestinian delegation to the United Nations successfully initiated an informal meeting of the Security Council on Israeli settlements in the West Bank that is to be held on Friday and to be attended by representatives of B’Tselem.
According to the UN’s website, the “Arria-Formula meeting, ” which is how Friday’s discussion has been defined, is a “very informal, confidential” meeting that enables “Security Council members to have a frank and private exchange of views.”
It is believed that this meeting is the Palestinian delegation’s first step in a plan to have the Security Council issue a resolution against Israel regarding the settlements.
Friday’s meeting will take place at 10am EDT (5pm Israel time) and will be co-chaired by Angola, Egypt, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela. The meeting’s title is ‘illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and Two-State Solution.’
B’Tselem’s executive director, Hagai El-Ad, will present an up-to-date summary of West Bank settlements to the 15 countries that sit on the Security Council. “This is the most important international forum that deals with the occupation and perhaps the only one that can promote significant action on the matter, ” he said.
“This will be one of the most important diplomatic opportunities in the history of B’Tselem, ” El-Ad added. He explained that he would repeat on Friday that “the occupation is not an internal Israeli matter, and the Israeli public is not authorized to decide if it wants it to continue. It is a clear international matter.”
A press release from his organization stated, “The responsibility for ending the occupation and the human rights violations that it entails lies first and foremost with Israel, yet this reality will not change as long as the international community stands idly by.”
Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, Amb. Danny Danon, criticized the meeting, saying, “The Palestinians continue to look for a way to bypass direct negotiations and are generating diplomatic terrorism against Israel. It’s sad and disappointing that precisely on days of self evaluation and prayers for the unity of the people of Israel, Israeli organizations are giving moral cover to the persecution of Israel at the UN.”
Peace Now announced that it would not be participating in the meeting. However, Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now will speak—her organization is affiliated with but not subsidiary to the Israeli Peace Now.
The Israeli organization did take the opportunity to condemn Danon, stating, “Danon needs to explain that this year alone, Israel built 1, 200 new housing units in the territories. Danon needs to explain that there is no Palestinian people and in the opinion of the Israeli government, a two-state vision isn’t forthcoming.
“But Danon is afraid, and so instead he attacks the Israeli peace camp and spreads hateful messages against those who oppose him and the government. Tomorrow, there will be no Israel representative of Peace Now before the Security Council. As for the negative message seeking to disconnect from the world and destroy Zionism, we leave that to Danon.”
By Itamar Eichner, Elior Levy & J. S. Herzog : B’Tselem to address UN Security Council’s informal meeting on West Bank settlements