New York, NY, December 22, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed dismay at the December 20th joint press statement issued by the U.N. ambassadors from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Portugal, saying it placed the "singular onus on Israel" and "provided new excuses for the Palestinians to continue their intransigent refusal to return to negotiations."
"The Palestinians have repeatedly ignored the Quartet's calls for a resumption of negotiations, and have unwisely attempted to pursue statehood through the U.N. rather than through direct talks," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Their refusal is the main obstacle to peace, and statements like the one issued will have precisely the opposite effect. It would behoove the international community to encourage the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table."
In a letter to the foreign ministers of the four European countries currently represented on the U.N. Security Council, ADL rejected the ambassadors' premise, saying that the demands in the statement go "well beyond the Quartet's September 23 formula for bringing the parties back to negotiations."
The ambassadors' statement, which was issued following the monthly U.N. Security Council meeting on the Middle East, said that Israeli settlement construction and the recent attacks on mosques by Jewish extremists in Israel were "severely damaging" to the future of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
"The reality is that the Quartet has called for negotiations without preconditions, and that settlements are an issue to be addressed in bilateral negotiations," said Mr. Foxman. "We were further troubled by the statement's assertion that violence by Israeli extremists will impact negotiations. The Israeli government is taking serious steps to apprehend and prosecute those responsible, and contain the behavior of those guilty of incitement and acts of violence, including the imposition of enhanced penalties for those convicted of committing the attacks."
The letter from ADL also pointed out that, "The statement glaringly omits any reference to Hamas's violent hostility towards Israel, as well as the organization's charter, which calls for Israel's destruction."