Top U.N. official urges Security Council to address Israeli-Palestinian conflict


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A top U.N. official urged the U.N. Security Council to address more substantively the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jeffrey Feltman, an American who is the under-secretary-general for political affairs, and as such a top deputy to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, was addressing the council as it convened Wednesday at the request of Jordan to consider Israeli building activity in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The council “might wish to consider if the current paradigm, almost 50 years into the conflict, does not require revisiting our engagement thus far, so as to salvage the decisions of the Security Council and the relentless efforts of the international community, and to ensure that words are translated into actions,” he said.

Feltman did not elaborate, but the Security Council until now has refused to consider Palestinian applications for statehood status. His remarks could signal a readiness by Ban to champion such a bid in the wake of collapsed peace talks.

Feltman condemned Israeli settlement activity and said the lack of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations was untenable.

“Ignoring the calls from the international community for such negotiations for whatever excuse will only breed more violence in the region that has already seen too much of it,” he said. “The reality is that continued settlement activity in occupied Palestinian territory is doing significant damage to any possibility of a lasting peace between the two sides and is moving the situation ever closer to a one-state reality.”

Separately, the U.N. Human Rights Committee, a body of independent experts that monitors the compliance of signatories to the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights, faulted Israel for settlement expansion and alleged human rights abuses during its recent wars with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has yet to respond to the body’s report, according to Reuters, but noted that Israel has said in the past that it does not consider its actions in Palestinian areas to come under the terms of the covenant.

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