UN laments dead year in Israel-Palestine talks

International day for Palestinians marred by zero progress in decades-old dispute

James Reinl – November 28, 2019

UNITED NATIONS (Anadolu) – A top UN official warned of “no positive developments” in the quest for peace between Israelis and Palestinians on Wednesday and urged the two sides to return to the negotiating table to hammer out a deal.

Speaking at a UN ceremony to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Maria Luiza Ribiero Viotti, the chief of staff for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, warned that the peace process continues to “deteriorate”.

“The intensification of illegal settlements, demolitions of Palestinian homes and the pervasive suffering in Gaza must stop,” said Ribiero Viotti, speaking on behalf of her boss.

“These actions threaten to undermine the viability of establishing a Palestinian state based on relevant United Nations resolutions.”

Ribiero Viotti urged Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to make progress towards the two-state solution, in which an independent Palestine co-exists peacefully with its Israeli neighbor as part of a comprehensive deal.

“It is a dangerous illusion to think that the conflict can be managed or contained in perpetuity,” said the official.

The Palestinians seek to create a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip — all territory captured by Israel in 1967.

But Palestinian officials point to setbacks to their quest for statehood, with Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank this month securing tacit support from the U.S. President Donald Trump administration.

“Despite decades of disappointment and setbacks, we remain committed to a multilateral order that respects and ensures respect for international law,” said Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour, speaking on behalf of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Palestine will continue engaging in efforts aimed to advance the rule of international law, including through the building of our national institutions, spreading the culture of peace and empowering our people, especially women and youth.”

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