The Arab League has rejected the nomination of Israel to take the presidency of the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Counter-Terrorism Committee, which is concerned with combating terrorism. The Arab League’s Secretary General, Nabil al-Arabi, notified the envoys and representatives of Arab states with the Arab position. Al-Arabi said, in a statement on Sunday, that Israel carries out illegal actions including the establishment of the Separation Wall, violation of Palestinians’ rights, and arresting civilians. He called the nomination of Israel for the presidency of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee a “big disaster for the UN”. According to the protocol, the UN Committee’s presidency is usually taken by alternation among groups and this year is the turn of the group of Western Europe which agreed on nominating Israel.
Also on al-Arabi’s itinerary, is a visit to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s tomb, and a trip to the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, where he will perform the midday prayer at the Ibrahimi mosque and subsequently fly back to Jordan.
The visit will come one week after al- Arabi stated that the Arab League would reject any amendments to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (API), a willingness that representatives of the Arab States conveyed to Israel amidst renewing peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Israel has continued to reiterate its rejection of the French-led peace initiative, with Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold suggesting Friday that the conference represented a form of colonialism, while reiterating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sentiments that only direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) would be supported by Israel.
Newly-appointed Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman and Netanyahu recently issued a joint statement in support of reviving the API for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Netanyahu and Lieberman also reiterated support for Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi’s initiative and threw their support behind the two-state solution.
All past efforts towards peace negotiations have failed to end the decades-long Israeli military occupation or bring Palestinians closer to an independent contiguous state.
The most recent spate of negotiations led by the US collapsed in April 2014.
Israel claimed the process failed because the Palestinians refused to accept a US framework document outlining the way forward, while Palestinians pointed to Israel’s ongoing settlement building and the government’s refusal to release veteran prisoners.