President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy berated the UN Security Council on Thursday for “rehashing tired talking points” criticizing Israeli settlements and said an upcoming US peace plan would provide a fresh approach.
Jason Greenblatt told a council meeting that the United Nations was biased against Israel, choosing “the comfort of 700 paper resolutions” condemning Israel instead of confronting the “700 rockets” fired by Palestinian militants.
“It is time for a new approach,” said Greenblatt, who is working with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that is expected to be unveiled soon.
The council met for an informal meeting organized by Indonesia, a strong Palestinian supporter, about the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, which the United Nations considers illegal.
The Trump administration is expected to roll out the long-awaited plan, possibly as early as next month, but the Palestinians have already rejected it as heavily biased in favor of Israel.
Addressing the council, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki again voiced opposition to the US plan, which is expected to include economic development as a key component.
“This is not a peace plan but rather conditions for surrender and there is no amount of money that can make it acceptable,” said Maliki.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi described settlement construction as “unacceptable” and urged the council to take a firmer stance against Israel. “Inaction is not an option”, she said.
But Greenblatt dismissed the view that the expansion of Jewish settlements was an impediment to Israeli-Palestinian peace and illegal under international law.
“Let’s stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution,” said Greenblatt. “This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one.”
He criticized the council for taking aim at Israel over the expansion of settlements but failing to condemn the Hamas movement and Islamic Jihad for firing rockets into Israel.
“Instead of seeking accountability for Hamas and Islamic Jihad... we are rehashing tired talking points, some 20 years old,” he argued.
The soon-to-be-released peace plan “will be realistic and implementable”, said Greenblatt, describing it as “the right package of compromises for both sides”.
He urged council members to “support the parties to get together and to get behind this opportunity.”