U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, demanded Israel act against the escalating attacks carried out by Jewish settlers against Palestinian farmers and their olive trees. Serry called on Israel “to counter violence and terror carried out by the settlers,” and to make sure assailants are brought to justice. He said that the Palestinian Authority is expected to do the same against Palestinian violence.
Serry stated that the olive harvest season in Palestine is a representation of the Palestinian identity and self-sufficiency for the Palestinian people who aspire independence in their own country.
The olive trees, he added, bring a combination of hope and determination, and that the olive branch is the symbol of peace and the symbol of Palestine.
“We are determined to help the Palestinian people achieve their goal of an independent Palestinian state that achieves freedom, liberty and a bright future.” Serry said, “We seek a better future for the Palestinians who will live in peace next to Israel”.
The UN official also stated that ending the occupation and the establishment of the Palestinian state are not only a right, but also a viable solution.
He added that the United Nations supports the Palestinian plan to have a viable state by August of next year.
Serry strongly denounced the escalating attacks carried out by the settlers against the Palestinians and their orchards, and added that settler terrorism must be stopped. Settlers recently attacked several villages, uprooted trees, attacked dozens of villagers, and even attacked mosques and churches.
He said that the construction of hundreds of units for Jewish settlers in the occupied territories is illegal under the International Law, and that settlement construction and expansion will lead to the collapse of the peace process.
Serry also stated that there are several U.N. and Security Council resolutions that were never implemented, and that Israel must implement those resolutions if it wants to achieve peace. He also urged all parties to act responsibly in order to ensure the success of peace efforts.
The U.N. official said that talks should include Jerusalem, borders, the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, settlements, water and security, and added that ending the occupation and the establishment of a two-state solution must be achieved.
On his part, Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, urged the U.N. to oblige Israel to implement all related security council resolutions in order to ensure a just and fair solution to the conflict.
While picking olives with Palestinian villagers in Tormos Ayya village, east of Ramallah, accompanied by Serry, Dr. Fayyad said that Israel must realize that U.N. resolutions are not “recommendations,’ but are obligations that must be fulfilled, and that the Palestinians will seek the UN recognition of a Palestinian State.
He said that should Israel continue its current stance of denying the legitimate Palestinian rights, the Palestinian leadership will declare statehood and will demand international recognition.
On Monday, President Mahmoud Abbas said that Israel has been conducting unilateral acts for more than 30 years, and that settlements are unilateral acts and violations.
“We implemented all of our obligations to the Road Map peace plan”, Abbas said, “Israel did not implement anything”.
Dr. Fayyad said that what is required now, is not only a settlement freeze, but an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state on all territories occupied in 1967, including occupied East Jerusalem, the future capital of this state”.
He added that while the world celebrates the 65th anniversary of establishing the United Nations, the Palestinians hope that the 66th anniversary in 2011 will also be the birth of the independent Palestinian State.
Fayyad said that settler terrorism against olive pickers did not start this harvest season, but that such attacks are repeated offensives that escalated this year.
He added that settlers repeatedly attack villagers, educational facilities, worship facilities, schools, and homes, and that Israel, as an occupying power, is responsible for protecting the civilians and stopping these attacks.
Israel was angered by the statements of Serry and consider them one-sided.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Serry should not have used the term “terror” when he described attacks carried out by Jewish settlers.
Foreign Minister spokesperson, Yigal Palmor, said that Israel realizes that there is violence carried out by Jewish settlers, and is acting against it.
Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem, managed to record at least one attack per day carried out by settlers against Palestinians and their orchards since the beginning of the harvest season this year.
B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli, said that the Israeli army has failed in enforcing law on Jewish settlers who attack the Palestinians and their property.
Besides attacking and burning mosques in recent period, on Tuesday morning, Israeli settler graffiti was found on the walls of restaurants, stores and on the walls of the Latin church in Jaffa City.
The Palestine News Network, PNN, reported that an eyewitness saw the settlers arriving in a car and spraying the slogan’Kahane Tzadak’ (Kahane was right) on the door of al- Freir School that belongs to the Latin Church.
The same graffiti was later found on the walls of the church, the Islamic Club, and also near the Abu al-Abed Restaurant and on the walls of al-Ghazazwa Garden.
The words “Kahane was right” were also sprayed on several tombstones in the Arab graveyard.
Meir Kahane was a well-known right-wing Israeli rabbi and the leader of the Jewish organization, Kach. The movement was later regarded by Israel as a terrorist group.
Kahane was known in the United States and Israel for advocating massive Jewish immigration to Israel and massive Arab expulsion, using the imminent threat of a ‘Second Holocaust,’ to justify the immigration.
He also promoted the idea a ‘Greater Israel,’ which supports a proposal for Israel to annex the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Kahane was shot and killed in Manhattan in 1990, following a speech he had given.