In a monthly briefing to the UN Security Council, Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast said Wednesday that until Israel and the PA take necessary first steps, the stalemate in the diplomatic process will continue.

“there is little reason to believe that either side would take the first steps to implement the ‘road map’ peace plan or stop violating international law.” He said

‘Until and unless both the Palestinian Authority and the government of Israel take the necessary first steps to restore momentum towards peace, the stalemate will continue and there will be no lasting ceasefire,’ Prendergast warned.

Prendergast said that the scale of destruction carried out by Israel stands against its obligations to protect Palestinian civilians and raises concerns about collective punishment.

He added that the Palestinian Authority failed to fulfill its commitment to prevent attacks against Israeli civilians emanating from territories in its control.

Prendergast stressed that ‘There can be no preconditions to the observance of humanitarian law and international agreements.’, and refused “using the other side acts to excuse each party from fulfilling its own obligation.”

The ‘road map’ peace plan outlines a series of parallel and reciprocal steps to achieve an independent Palestinian state, alongside Israel, by 2005