Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to never uproot any settlement in the occupied West Bank, prompting a backlash from Palestinians and raising new questions about the slow start for United States peace efforts led by White House adviser Jared Kushner.
The Palestinians called on the White House to intervene, and visiting U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres challenged Netanyahu's comments, reiterating the worldwide community's opposition to Israeli settlements.
Netanyahu accused Iran of turning Syria into a "base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel".
He added that Iran is "building sites to produce precision-guided missiles towards that end ..."
This is something Israel can not accept.
While Netanyahu has made similar pledges before, the timing - on the heels of Kushner's visit and with the United Nations chief in town - gave it added significance and raised questions about his intentions for resolving the conflict with the Palestinians.
The Knesset members visit- under hard security measures - was authorized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after being suspended - by himself - in October 2015.
In a separate meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Guterres that he appreciated his desire "to turn a new page" in the UN's relations with Israel, echoing Rivlin's earlier remarks.
Guterres asked Netanyahu that Israel help improve the Palestinian economy as a way to show the Palestinians that making peace with Israel will pay.
"We can't wait for very long", he said. He said in an interview with The National published on Monday, adding that "this is the new reality that we have to accept, and there isn't much we can do about it".
His three-day visit is also expected to include a trip to the blockaded Gaza Strip.
The tensions between the United Nations and Israel started in January, when Israel decreased annual payments to the organization by $6 million in response to the December 2016 UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
While Guterres spoke at length in his public comments on Monday on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli leaders interests lie elsewhere for now. "It's an obstacle to the two-state solution".
He said Israel is getting away with grave violations and no one is holding it accountable for its actions, foremost of which is its intense settlement activity, land confiscation, detentions, killing of Palestinians, demolitions of homes and many other violations.
On Sunday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a group of dovish Israeli lawmakers that he had met with Trump officials 20 times, but had no idea what their stance on issues was, describing the administration as "in chaos".