Highlighting the importance of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine to advance peace in Middle East, the United States of America today reiterated that the United States does not consider UNGA resolution 67/19 as bestowing Palestinian “statehood” or recognition.
In her remarks at a Security Council open debate on the Middle East, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Susan E. Rice says the November 29, 2012 vote in the General Assembly has not brought the Palestinians any closer to our common goal of achieving a state.
Ms. Rice reitarates the only way to establish a real Palestinian state is through the painstaking work of direct negotiations on final status issues, without preconditions, between the Israelis and Palestinians.
“UNGA Resolution 67/19 cannot be viewed as establishing terms of reference or as prejudging any final status issues, notably with respect to territory. These are simply inescapable facts.” – Ms. Rice
Thus, the United States remains fully committed to direct negotiations, and it will continue to work vigorously toward that end, she underlined.
The US is consulting with the parties and international partners on the way forward, and we are underscoring that every step taken must aim to reduce tensions and create a climate for peace.
She notes the Quartet envoys met earlier this month in Jordan to discuss the measures necessary to create a positive atmosphere conducive to future negotiations.
This meeting followed U.S. Special Envoy David Hale’s engagement with Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian, and Arab League leaders to advance Middle East peace and security including by maintaining and strengthening the Gaza cease-fire, Ms. Rice stated.
However, Ms. Rice points out that throughout US engagement, the US government has reiterated its longstanding opposition to Israel’s West Bank settlement activity, as well as construction in East Jerusalem, which run counter to the cause of peace.
Construction in the E-1 area would be especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution, she said.
The US urges Israeli leaders to reconsider these unilateral decisions and to exercise restraint.
According to Ms. Rice, for decades, the United States has not accepted the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, and it opposes any efforts to legalize outposts.
“We will continue to urge leaders on both sides to avoid unilateral steps and provocations that make peace negotiations harder to resume.” – Ms. Rice
She emphasizes that the position of the United States regarding Palestinian status, including as reflected in our explanation of vote in connection with the adoption of General Assembly resolution 67/19, remains unchanged.
The US asserts that only direct negotiations to settle final status issues will lead to this outcome.
Therefore, in US view, Ms. Rice stresses that any reference to the “State of Palestine” in the United Nations, including the use of the term “State of Palestine” on the placard in the Security Council or the use of the term “State of Palestine” in the invitation to this meeting or other arrangements for participation in this meeting, do not reflect acquiescence that “Palestine” is a state.
Ms. Rice underlines this statement of US position shall apply to Palestinian participation in meetings of United Nations Security Council or in other UN meetings, regardless of whether the United States specifically intervenes on this matter in the future.
In the open debate in New York, Ms. Rice also cites that the current financial crisis in the Palestinian territories is severe, and recent news of Saudi Arabia’s generous $100 million donation to the Palestinian Authority is welcome.
She cites the US has made enormous investments to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people that we wish to be sustained, including through the immediate resumption of regular clearance revenue transfers.
Over the years, no government has invested more in assistance to the Palestinians than the United States, she said.
“We remain committed to supporting the Palestinian people.” – Ms. Rice
In December 2012, the United States of America expressed opposition on Israel’s decision to build more than 3,000 new settlements in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
The United States has opposed all unilateral actions, including West Bank settlement activity and housing construction in East Jerusalem.
The US has made clear to the Israeli Government that such action is contrary to U.S. policy.
The US and the international community expect all parties to play a constructive role in efforts to achieve peace.
In June 2012, Israeli Government had announced its plans to build 300 new units in the Palestinian territory at the Beit El settlement.
Media reports say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the construction of the new units hours after the parliament rejected a bill to legalize settlement outposts.
In addition, new United Nations report revealed that Palestinian development is hampered by ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements.
The UN report highlighted that the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories remains “extremely worrying and precarious.”
International Labour Organization Report
According to the International Labour Organization, the ‘Area C’ of the West Bank, which is to be an essential part of a future Palestinian state continues to be under full Israeli control, with Palestinians denied access to their livelihoods and to one another.
The report – The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories – appears as an appendix in the ILO Director-General’s annual report to the 101st International Labour Conference, taking place in Geneva.
The report notes that the deteriorating conditions for workers are due to the realities of the occupation on the ground and the unabated expansion of Israeli settlements.
The report also notes the need for the Middle East peace process to encompass institutions and policies for job creation, social dialogue, gender equality, social security, and fair incomes.
Israel captured East Jerusalem along with the West Bank and Gaza in the Six-Day War in 1967, but annexed the city as its united capital in a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as capital of their future State.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since late September last year following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity. That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.