UN calls on Israelis Palestinians to take parallel steps in peace process

Video of Security Council meeting “The peace process will resume only when both parties recognize that their mutual concerns must be addressed through parallel steps – and not in a sequential order, littered with pre-conditions,” Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast said in a monthly update of Middle East developments.If the Road Map for Middle East peace presented by the Quartet – the United Nations, the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union – was to succeed, he said, a basic requirement was that both sides acknowledge and address each other’s core concerns.The Government of Israel’s most basic concern was the security of its State and people, he said, while the Palestinians’ most basic concerns were territory and viability.Despite initial contacts between the new Palestinian government and the Government of Israel, both parties have continued to ignore each other’s core concerns. “Be it on terror or on territory, they have fallen short of carrying out their preliminary, phase one commitments under the Quartet’s Road Map,” he said.The Palestinian Authority took no tangible measures during the last month to establish control over the groups using violence and terror and failed to consolidate its security apparatus under the single authority of an empowered Interior Minister, he said. This made it difficult for the Palestinian Authority to claim credit for the recent drop in Palestinian violence.”In fact, the Government of Israel perceives the decline in violence as being the result of its military and security measures,” he said.Meanwhile, Israel had not fulfilled its core commitment to remove all settlements erected since March 2001 and, as security improved, to implement a complete settlement freeze.”Quite the opposite has happened,” Mr. Prendergast said. “Settlement outposts have increased and the Government of Israel is proceeding with the construction of the West Bank barrier.”The Palestinian Authority says Palestinian extremists are strengthened by Israeli actions like settlement expansion, barrier construction, tight closures, house demolitions and extra-judicial killings. Israel says it has continued these measures because it sees no genuine Palestinian action on security and terrorism, he said.

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