Why Won’t the Palestinians Negotiate? Looking for a Better Deal at the UN?


April 6, 2011

By Martin Raffel, Senior Vice President

As you may know, it has been widely reported that this coming September the leadership of the Palestinian Authority will seek to obtain United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood — probably along the 1967 borders (1949 armistice lines) and also including reference to the “right of return” — either from the Security Council and/or the General Assembly. Some countries, especially in South America are not waiting for September, and already have extended recognition to a Palestinian state. These developments have generated deep concern in Jerusalem, with Defense Minister Ehud Barak describing the upcoming UN gathering as a potential “diplomatic tsunami.”

The idea of achieving Palestinian statehood outside a negotiating framework with Israel is contrary to past UN resolutions, the position of the Quartet and long-standing U.S. policy.  [emphasis added]

Earlier this week, the administration’s Middle East advisor Dennis Ross told the Anti-Defamation League’s annual leadership conference, “We have consistently made it clear that the way to produce a Palestinian state is through negotiations, not through unilateral declarations, not through going to the UN.” President Obama reportedly said yesterday to Israeli President Shimon Peres that the U.S. would stand by Israel’s side against any unilateral resolution. “Obama promised that the U.S. would oppose any process of delegitimizing Israel in international forums,” said Peres in a newspaper interview.

Clearly, it is our hope that many other countries besides the U.S., whether in the Security Council or General Assembly, will join in opposing a unilateral Palestinian “end run” around negotiations with Israel. Keep in mind that Prime Minister Netanyahu has offered to conduct negotiations on all permanent status issues without any preconditions, recognized the right of the Palestinian people to national self-determination in an independent state, and expressed readiness to make painful compromises as long as they are consistent with Israel’s fundamental security requirements. [emphasis added]

To learn more about the procedural United Nations maneuvers, click here.

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