Egypt discusses Palestine peace process at UN

Egypt discusses Palestine peace process at UN

A youth wearing a gas mask and holding the Palestinian flag looks on during clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians and foreign activists along the Israeli built controversial separation barrier.  (AFP Photo)

A youth wearing a gas mask and holding the Palestinian flag looks on during clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians and foreign activists along the Israeli built controversial separation barrier.
(AFP Photo)

Egypt hopes for a fair solution to the Palestinian issue, its permanent envoy to the United Nations said in a speech before the Security Council on Monday.

Ambassador Mootaz Khalil said: “If the security of Palestine cannot be achieved without guaranteeing the security of Israel, then the security of Israel in turn will not be achieved at the expense of the security of Palestine.”

He added that the security of Palestine will only be achieved through peace built on respecting the right of others to exist.

Khalil said the Palestinian issue is currently at a “critical stage” after rapid developments in the past three months during which the United States intensified efforts to reach an agreement, in a speech he delivered on behalf of Egypt.

The developments were accompanied by “statements by top Israeli officials questioning the two-state solution,” Khalil said. He said in October that Israel, “being the occupying state, should take steps to fulfill the two-state-solution,” and that Israeli settlement activity destroys any chance of peace in the Middle East.

The Palestinians and Israelis officially resumed negotiations in July following US diplomatic efforts. Egypt said that despite skepticism, it supports the ongoing talks.

The ongoing final-status negotiations revolve around four major issues: Jerusalem, borders, security and refugees, and have a time frame of nine months.

Foreign minister Nabil Fahmy accused the Israeli authorities of attempting to change the identity of Jerusalem, calling for international resolutions relating to the city to be implemented, in a speech he delivered on Saturday at the 20th session of the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee held in Marrakech.

Fahmy met with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on Friday and the former “expressed hope that the US side and the international community would exert the necessary pressure on the Israelis to urge them to deal positively with the ideas that arise in order to revive the peace process.” He stressed that Egypt “would spare no effort” in supporting the Palestinian cause.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also described the peace process as being at a “critical point” during the Follow-up Committee of the Arab Peace Initiative meeting in Paris last week. The meeting was held to discuss the continued efforts to reach a peace agreement with Israel, not only with Palestine, but with Arab and Islamic states around the world.

 

The Arab foreign ministers said after an emergency session of the Arab League Council in December that they hold the Israeli government responsible for “obstructing the peace process by continuing to kill Palestinians in cold blood and for its persistence on settlement schemes and demolition of houses and villages.” The meeting was held at the request of Abbas, who discussed developments on the negotiations with Interim President Adly Mansour last month.

The Israeli government approved the building of 272 new homes in the Palestinian territory in the first week of January. Settlement building has been one of the major sticking points in the peace process and the refusal of the Israeli side to freeze such activity caused talks to fail in 2010.

Egypt’s foreign ministry has reiterated, on several occasions, its position on Palestinian-Israeli talks: “That the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations are serious, that they follow the agreed timetable and that they lead to the establishment of an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state based on the June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

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