U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice today reiterated that the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.
In her remarks at a Security Council open debate on the Middle East, Ms. Rice said the Security Council had discussed the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza as well as in southern Israel.
On February 2011, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning all Israeli settlements established in occupied Palestinian territory since 1967 as illegal, saying that while it agreed that the settlements are illegitimate the resolution harmed chances for peace talks.
The other 14 members of the Council voted for the resolution, which demanded that “Israel, as the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and that it fully respect its legal obligations in this regard.”
“The discussion today has already focused a great deal on counterproductive actions taken by both sides.” -Ms. Rice
She encouraged her colleagues on the Council to join in encouraging the parties to refrain from unhelpful actions and to promote an environment that is conducive to progress.
“We join in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, both incitement to violence and continued terrorist attacks on civilians in Israel, including rocket attacks from Gaza.” -Ms. Rice
She reiterated the U.S. ongoing concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and its support for increased measures to ensure the safety and well-being of Gazans.
She urged Israel to continue and to step up its efforts to deter, confront, and prosecute anti-Palestinian violence and extremist hate crimes.
“We should not lose sight of our shared goal of a comprehensive, just, and lasting resolution to the conflict.” -Ms. Rice
Ms. Rice said President Obama laid out his vision for a lasting peace in May 2011, which will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.
“President Obama reiterated this goal in his speech before the General Assembly in September. He reaffirmed the basis for successful negotiations, which is well known to all of us: Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security, and Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.” -Ms. Rice
She stated that in an effort to operationalize the President’s vision, the Quartet issued on September 23 a statement calling on the parties “to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions.”
“The statement, taken as a whole, presents a robust framework for resuming direct negotiations between the parties.” -Ms. Rice
She stressed that they are now at a critical juncture. She said the government of Jordan deserves the gratitude for facilitating reengagement by the parties.
“With Jordan and the Quartet’s help, the parties have begun a difficult, but necessary, process. It is imperative that we do everything we can to contribute to the success of this pathway.” -Ms. Rice
The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict covers from the end of the 19th century to the present day. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict centers on often mutually exclusive claims to the area called Palestine by the Palestinians and the Land of Israel by Israeli Jews.