Netanyahu Slams UN's Mideast Envoy: 'His Remarks Distort History, Push Peace Further Away'

After Nickolay Mladenov said Israeli settlements, lack of PA rule in Gaza undermine peace efforts, Israel's UN ambassador fires back in defiant statement.

The West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, June 30, 2016.
Mussa Qawasma, Reuters

The Prime Minister's Office harshly responded on Tuesday to the UN Middle East envoy's remarks to the UN Security Council concerning the role of Israeli settlements concerning the stalemate in the peace process. 

"The UN envoy to the Middle East's remarks to the Security Council distort history and international law and push peace farther away," the statement read. "The obstacle to peace is the unending attempt to deny the Jewish people's connection to their land and refusal to recognize that they aren't foreigners here."

"The claim that Jewish construction in Jerusalem is illegal is absurd as the claim that U.S. construction in Washington D.C. or French construction in Paris is illegal," the statement continued, adding that "the PA's demand that a future Palestinian state be ethnically cleansed of Jews is outrageous. The UN must condemn it instead of adopting it."

Nickolay Mladenov told the UN Security Council on Monday that illegal settlement expansion and the lack of Palestinian Authority control in Gaza remain among the biggest obstacles to peace, nearly two months after international negotiators offered practical recommendations to enable a return to talks.

"[The Quarter report's] recommendations continue to be ignored, including by a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and continuing demolitions," Mladenov told the Security Council.

Mladenov called for a "radical overhaul of how we deal with the problems of Gaza," and said the area "remains in the grip of militants, and dependent on aid and humanitarian assistance."

He also flagged "a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and demolitions," and called on Israel to reverse these decisions while warning that the demolition of Sussia would "set a dangerous precedent for displacement."

According to Mladenov, the demolition of Sussia and new settlement construction near Hebron "would essentially create new illegal settlements and I call on Israel to cease and reverse these decisions."

Responding to his statement, Danny Danon, Israel's UN ambassador, said that "Israel will continue to build in its eternal capital of Jerusalem, like all other countries continue to build in their capitals without waiting for authorization from the UN.

"The UN," Danon continued, "should focus on the main obstacle to a regional solution – the Palestinian refusal to condemn terror and return to the negotiating table." Danon labeled Mladenov's statement as baseless.