Abstention by US on Israeli Settlement Resolution Reasonable Response

Categories: Israel, Letters From Leadership, Letters From Leadership, Two States

Ameinu Calls on Israel and Palestinians to Act to Promote Two-State Solution

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(New York, December 23, 2016) – Responding to news that the United States abstained on a UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlement activity, thereby allowing its passage, Kenneth Bob and Gideon Aronoff, President and CEO respectively of Ameinu, North America’s largest grassroots progressive Zionist organization, issued the following statement:

Ameinu believes that the decision to abstain is a reasonable response to the resolution as presented and is valuable to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. While the wording of the draft UNSC resolution is not perfect, particularly with regard to Jerusalem, and while the core issues between Israel and the Palestinians must ultimately be decided by direct negotiations by the parties themselves rather than by international action, abstention should not be viewed or described as an abandonment of Israel.

 

Ameinu notes that, compared to other proposals debated at the UN, this resolution is balanced and focused on Israeli settlement activity rather than on broad and extremely biased condemnations of Israel, as normally seen at the UN.  Ameinu also appreciates that the resolution recognizes that the conflict continues because of actions of both parties as it:

“Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism…”

Ameinu strongly agrees with the resolution’s statements on terrorism and believes that actions by the Palestinians to implement this provision, including in the area of incitement, will be crucial for a negotiated settlement to be reached.

In the past the Obama Administration has vetoed UNSC resolutions as unfair and biased against Israel, as part of its unprecedented security and political support for the special relationship between Israel and the United States.  However, the specific resolution and actions on the ground in Israel — including continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, action on legislation to retroactively legalize settlements built on private Palestinian land and statements from key government ministers that the era of the Palestinian state is over – justify the decision to abstain in the interest of preserving a two-state solution.

While overall Ameinu believes the resolution is fair, in one area we continue to be very uncomfortable with the language used.  The complexity of Jerusalem over the Green Line is not well delineated in the UNSC resolution.  For example, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the Western Wall are simply not the same as Palestinian neighborhoods like Silwan in East Jerusalem where Palestinian residents are being intentionally displaced.  States seeking to implement this resolution must make this distinction if they are to serve the goals of the resolution and to promote a two-state solution.

Ameinu hopes that both the Government of Israel and the Palestinians will work with the international community, the Obama Administration and the incoming Trump Administration to take all steps possible to work towards a two-state solution and division of the land to allow for the creation of a State of Palestine living at peace next to the Jewish State of Israel.

 

For More Information Contact:  Gideon Aronoff, Gideon@Ameinu.net

 

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