Jerusalem, July 27 - "Palestinian attempts to create a state by bypassing negotiations are akin to picking out a chimney pot for one's house before laying its foundation," Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor told the Security Council on Tuesday.
Prosor urged the Palestinians to return to the direct peace talks they walked out on last September. He told a U.N. debate on the Middle East that several leading Palestinians, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, have spoken out against plans to declare statehood this September.
American leaders have urged negotiations as the preferred avenue for statehood. Congressional leaders held hearings on the Palestinian plan. They debated withholding aid from the Palestinians if they choose to go ahead with the diplomatic move at the U.N. - particularly if the new Palestinian government contains Iran-backed Hamas, a terror group committed to Israel's destruction.
Prosor, like other Israeli and Quartet representatives, pointed out that face-to-face talks will bring the greatest benefits to the Palestinians. He spoke of a recent example where talks between bitter enemies led to the creation of the world's newest state.
"Both South and North Sudan harbored serious frustrations. Major problems arose. Yet, the parties did not seek quick fixes or instant solutions. They sat together and negotiated, reaching a mutual agreement. This is why South Sudan was accepted by such a broad consensus in the international community," said Prosor.
The ambassador warned that any debate on the Middle East cannot solely focus on the Israeli-Palestinian arena but must look at the wider picture. Many of the region's problems originate in Iran, he suggested.
"Iran remains the center of terrorism in our region, transferring arms to Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups in serial violation of numerous Security Council resolutions," he said.
Iran must not be allowed to fall off the international radar, Prosor added.
The ambassador concluded with a plea to the Palestinians:
"Take Israel's outstretched hand. Seize the opportunities before us to advance down the real road toward peace - a road of solutions not resolutions; dialogue not monologue; and direct negotiations not unilateral declarations."