18 February 2011
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder has expressed deep appreciation to the United States for voting down a UN Security Council resolution which would have unilaterally condemned Israel and termed its settlements east of the 1967 Green Line as “illegal.” Lauder said President Obama’s decision to veto the Arab-sponsored text showed America’s support for the rights of the Jewish state and for the Middle East peace process. Had it been adopted, the resolution would have stood in violation of the Oslo II interim accords which still govern relations between the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel and to which the United States, among many other Western countries, is a signatory.
The other 14 members of the Security Council backed the resolution, which had been endorsed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It was the first veto by the Obama administration at the United Nations. A Palestinian official said the peace talks would now be "reassessed".
Ronald S. Lauder called the proposed text “one-sided” and criticized the states that had sponsored it. “The issue of settlements needs be negotiated bilaterally, in final-status talks, between Palestinians and Israelis. It is exclusively an issue for the two parties,” the WJC president declared. He added that the adoption of this Security Council resolution would have placed the peace process in even greater jeopardy and lent credibility to illegitimate Palestinian “back door” efforts to establish a unilateral state by pre-determining the outcome of negotiations with Israel.
Ongoing unilateral moves to establish a Palestinian state outside the agreed negotiation framework between the sides, based on Security Council resolution 242 of November 1967, represent a gross violation of previous signed agreements between the PA and Israel, Lauder pointed out. He added: “The resolution text that was proposed to the Security Council further promoted the fallacy that the 1967 borders have any basis in law or history. They never existed nor were they ever part of any agreed upon documentation concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict and have no basis whatsoever, neither in law nor in fact. The World Jewish Congress therefore urges the United Nations to stop undermining, condoning, and abetting efforts to assault Israel’s legal and diplomatic rights in ongoing negotiations over the future of the disputed territories.”
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also thanked the United States for vetoing the resolution. "Israel deeply appreciates this decision and we remain committed to advancing peace both with our neighbors in the region and with the Palestinians. I believe that the US decision makes it clear that the only way to peace is direct negotiations and not through the actions of international bodies, which are designed to bypass direct negotiations," Netanyahu said before the weekly Cabinet meeting.
Susan Rice (pictured above), the US permanent representative at the UN, told the Security Council that "the veto should not be understood to mean we support settlement activities." However, she added that the draft resolution risked hardening the positions of both sides. Peace could only be made between the two parties, Rice stressed.
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