UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Mideast envoy has warned that "the rise of violent extremism and terrorism" in the Mideast poses as much a danger to Palestinian statehood aspirations as to Israel's security
Nickolay Mladenov warned the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that support for a Palestinian state co-existing peacefully with Israel "is fading away." He said the elusive two-state solution is threatened by Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and settlement construction there, along with violence, security problems and lack of Palestinian unity.
Israel and the Palestinians are now further apart than ever from achieving peace and two-state solution, he said.
"Now is the time to act decisively to reverse the growing perception that the two-state solution is on life support, slowly dying a death 'by a thousand cuts'," Mladenov said.
The U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process urged the international community to work with Israelis and Palestinians to return "to meaningful negotiations on the basis of an agreed framework and within a reasonable timeframe."
Mladenov noted a European Union-backed proposal to establish an international support group that could contribute to "a reinvigorated effort" to create the conditions for renewed talks. It would include Arab nations and others.
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor said that 10 years after his country withdrew from Gaza, the territory "has become a safe haven for terrorists." He stressed that Hamas, which controls Gaza, still refuses to recognize Israel, accept previous peace agreements and renounce violence — all preconditions for a lasting peace deal.
Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour blamed Israel for blocking peace efforts and urged the Security Council "to move forward now on reaffirming the parameters for peace."
"The foundations for peace must be firmly set before this opportunity is lost to us and the two-state solution is relegated to the archives of history," he said.