On Wednesday, the UN special coordinator for the ongoing peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials openly criticized a key ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for "killing" hopes for peace.
"The determination of some ministers in Israel to block progress, and kill hope by promoting illegal settlements and rejecting a Palestinian state is concerning," said Nickolay Mladenov in a statement.
The UN envoy’s comments came after Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked condemned a proposed two-state solution, declaring on Tuesday that, “there will be no Palestinian state, there will be no settlement evacuations and we will not give any land to our enemies as long as we are in power.”
Previous peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians have faltered as Jerusalem increases violent raids and propagates illegal settlements to provoke their Arab neighbors, most recently in the failed 2014 peace effort. In the wake of the policies, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas forged a unity pact with Hamas, leading to stern denunciations in the West.
Although Jerusalem has historically appeared to pay lip service to establishing peace with their Arab neighbors, his country’s rhetoric has traditionally blamed Palestinians for refusing to accept Israel’s right to exist, and consistently claimed religious persecution.
The statement also represents a troubling departure from the 1990s peace talks facilitated by then-President Bill Clinton. At the time, Jerusalem agreed, in principle, to facilitate the restoration of a Palestinian state, but the arrangement stalled after Israelis offered only a handful of undesirable territories.
Palestinians have since sought the recognition of their independent state by mirroring the Israeli strategy of occupation, by occupying territories in the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in return, demanding that Israel immediately withdraw from Arab-occupied territories. Palestinians have advanced a painful regime of self-restraint in their resistance against Israel’s so-called apartheid regime, also advancing a boycott of all Israeli goods.
Despite the truculent rhetoric by key Israeli officials likely killing a two-state solution in the near-term, a French-led initiative kicks off in Paris on June 3 to discuss a potential action-plan for peace in the troubled region.