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Palestinians demand recognition by new Israel government

By AFP - Jan 24,2013 - Last updated at Jan 24,2013

UNITED NATIONS — Palestinian leaders will work towards peace with any Israeli government that recognises the Palestinian state, Foreign Minister Riyad Al Malki said Wednesday.

But Malki told the UN Security Council that actions by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since UN members recognised the Palestinian state in November have been “the complete antithesis of the two-state solution”.

“In the wake of the Israeli elections, Palestine is willing to work with any Israeli government to be formed provided that it is committed to the General Assembly resolutions giving effect to the state of Palestine and to the pre-1967 borders,” Malki said.

The Palestinian minister said the deadlocked peace process is now at a “crossroads” as he renewed condemnation of Israel’s settlement of the occupied territories and its offensive on Gaza in December.

Israel must choose between “a meaningful political process” or “force us into an era in which that solution is abandoned and the Palestinian people enter a new stage in their struggle to defend and achieve their rights through all peaceful, political, diplomatic and legal means available,” Malki said.

The foreign minister said that 2013 will be “critical” for the peace process. Many UN officials and European governments believe that the process could come to an end if no progress is made this year.

Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor rejected the criticism, however.

“The major obstacle to the two-state solution is the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to speak to their own people about the true parameters of a two-state solution; to speak a lexicon of peace, not a litany of war,” he told the Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

Israeli-Palestinian talks have been frozen since September 2010 when an Israeli moratorium on settlement building ended. But Prosor said the Palestinians had not shown a “single indication” that they want to return to talks.

US Ambassador Susan Rice called on Israel to reconsider its settlements in the occupied territory and freeze on tax transfers to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

But sticking to US backing for its key Israeli ally, she also reaffirmed the US refusal to recognise a Palestinian state and called for the Palestinians to return to direct talks without conditions.

The November 29 vote in the UN General Assembly “has not brought the Palestinians any closer to our common goal of achieving a state,” she said.

The United States would not recognise “any reference to the state of Palestine in the United Nations” even if US diplomats take part in a meeting where the Palestinians are present, Rice said.

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