Israel and Palestinians clash at UN meeting as tensions rise
Israel's U.N. ambassador accused the Palestinians on Wednesday of stabbing a knife into any chance for reconciliation by seeking an advisory opinion from the U.N.'s highest court on Israel's decades-old occupation — and the Palestinian U.N. envoy accused Israel's new government of seeking to crush its people.
The always contentious monthly U.N. Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was even more vitriolic and threatening this week, and U.N. Mideast envoy Tor Wennesland warned that "a dangerous cycle of violence persists on the ground, amidst increased political tension and a stalled peace process."
"Israelis and Palestinians remain on a collision course amid escalating political and inflammatory rhetoric as well as heightened violence in the West Bank -- both with potentially grave consequences," he said. "Absent a concerted and collective effort by all, with strong support from the international community, spoilers and extremists will continue to pour more fuel on the fire and we will move still further from a peaceful resolution of the conflict."
Underlying the ongoing violence is the Palestinians' decades-long quest for an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war.
In the latest confrontation, the Palestinians and their supporters won U.N. General Assembly approval on Dec. 30 of a resolution asking the International Court of Justice or ICJ to intervene in one of the world's longest-running and thorniest disputes and render an advisory opinion on the legality of Israeli policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
While the court's rulings are not binding, they do influence international opinion.
Israel's new hardline government...