Gabriela Shalev - Emil Salman
Gabriela Shalev speaking to Knesset members, May 16, 2011. Photo by Emil Salman
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Israel's current status at the United Nations is at an all-time low, Israel's former UN ambassador, Prof. Gabriela Shalev, said yesterday at a session of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Also speaking at the meeting, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy said that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are currently impossible.

"Israel has no chance of dealing with the Palestinian move in the General Assembly," Shalev said, discussing the Palestinians' expected declaration of statehood after a UN vote this September. "The United States is not interested in vetoing the UN's recognition of a Palestinian state." Shalev added that the UN is today the foremost place for activity against Israel.

Former Mossad chief Halevy said Israel's "maneuvering space is growing narrower," while the ability of the Quartet - the U.S., Russia, UN and European Union - to "affect the peace talks is diminishing.

"The existing situation is a non-starter," he added, saying that what Israel has wanted for the last two years can't now come to fruition: "We can't reach a permanent peace deal because the person who would sign the deal is not the same person who would need to carry it out," Halevy said.

Committee chairman MK Shaul Mofaz warned that Sunday's Nakba Day clashes are a precursor to the events expected in September, when the Palestinian Authority intends to unilaterally declare a state in the UN.

"Israel's government is hiding its head in the sand," Mofaz said. "Without a peace initiative, events like the one on the Syrian border will recur in September.

"The changes here are tectonic," he added. "The events are a precursor to the September events, which could come in waves against Israel's population."

Mofaz said Israel should not have waited for Sunday's clashes to understand that the reality in the Middle East has changed.

"The present government, headed by Netanyahu, isn't initiating anything," Mofaz said, adding that the Israeli government must be prepared for any situation come September.

Former head of the Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash said "the government will negotiate with any government that adheres to the two-states-for-two-peoples principle. The Quartet's principles must be applied to the continued process, building an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation." He said the Palestinians also must accept the principle of one law, one authority, and one army.

The committee said it will ask Defense Minister Ehud Barak and top defense officials to attend a meeting to "explain" the army's failure in dealing with the Palestinians who crossed the Syrian border into Israel on Sunday.