NEW YORK, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A United Nations Middle East coordinator told the Security Council that the two-state solution between Palestine and Israel is not working.
Robert Serry argued Wednesday that Palestinians and Israelis are not seriously engaged in the two-state solution, citing worrying trends, including the Israeli settlements in the sensitive area of the West Bank, the Palestinian news agency WAFA said.
But Serry said Israeli and Palestinian leaders believe the two-state solution is the only viable one, and argued that both sides should remain open to other possible initiatives, KUNA, the Kuwait News Agency, reported.
Serry called on the Security Council to act boldly to attain peace, and urged Palestinians and Israelis to abstain from actions that will make meaningful negotiations impossible.
"We cannot afford another year without courageous action undertaken for the purpose of achieving a two-state solution," he said.
Serry also expressed his concern about the effectiveness of international diplomatic efforts, and said he believes the U.N. still does not have a clear, realistic plan.
In Ramallah, a Palestinian Authority official said the next Israeli government must choose between peace or the current stalemate.
All the Palestinians care about is that the future Israeli government accept the two-state solution with east Jerusalem as its capital and halt all settlement construction, Nabil Abu Rudaineh spokesman of the Palestinian Authority said Wednesday. The Jerusalem Post reported he warned if the current stalemate continues it "will have a negative impact on everyone."
However, Hanan Ashrawi of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee had a far more pessimistic outlook. "The chances of peace will not increase suddenly. I don't expect the establishment of a peace coalition or camp in Israel," she said.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the new Israeli government must stop all settlement construction and release Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israel, the Post said.