Jewish groups reacted with dismay over the decision of the United Nations General Assembly to vote in favor of upgrading the status of the Palestinian Authority to observer state today. Many concluded that the impact of the outcome on efforts to achieve peace with the Arabs will be profoundly negative. Below are some of the reactions:
AIPAC: “The United Nations General Assembly recklessly set back the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians today when it granted non-member observer state status to the Palestine Liberation Organization. In requesting this action, PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is effectively turning his back on talks with Israel and destroying his credibility as someone genuinely interested in a serious peace process. Instead, Abbas has reinforced the message he sent in a May 2011 New York Times op-ed that he intends to widen the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by pursuing claims against Israel before international bodies that can neither bring peace nor well-being to his people.
…Congress has frequently warned the PLO that there would be consequences for its relationship with the United States if the PLO refuses to demonstrate its commitment to peace with Israel. Congress has specifically linked continued aid and the operation of the PLO office in Washington to the Palestinians not seeking statehood status at the United Nations. AIPAC applauds this congressional leadership and urges a full review of America’s relations with the PLO, including closure of the PLO’s office in Washington.”
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations: “The outcome of the vote at the United Nations General Assembly today on the resolution to elevate the Palestinian Authority to Non Member Observer State status will leave no victors but certainly a primary loser, peace in the Middle East. This maneuver’s sole purpose is to bypass direct negotiations with Israel with the attempt to achieve through the UNGA vote recognition that will, in fact, not change anything on the ground for the Palestinian people, but will dim the prospect for peace. It is regrettable that nations that profess a commitment to a two state solution and direct negotiations would support a measure that diminishes both. Additionally, many countries may come to regret the precedent set today, the result of which will be that parties in other disputed areas will bypass peaceful resolution by coming to the General Assembly.”
The Anti Defamation League: “With this resolution, the General Assembly has handed the Palestinian leadership a pyrrhic public relations victory, which in all likelihood will make it even more difficult to move the process forward. The result of the vote is no surprise — the General Assembly has always given a rubber stamp to Palestinian declarations and grandstanding. Adding insult to injury, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in his remarks reiterated some of his more outrageous charges against Israel. Included were lies and distortions accusing Israel of aggression in the recent conflict with Gaza, of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, colonialism and racism. His were not the words of a statesman seeking peace.
In the long term this resolution will have potentially disastrous consequences for future Palestinian aspirations. It brings the Palestinian people no closer to statehood, nor does it bring Israel closer to peace and security. And it demonstrates to the majority of Israelis who support a negotiated peace agreement that the Palestinian Authority has no interest in negotiations, reconciliation, or peace.”
B’nai B’rith International: “B’nai B’rith International condemns the Nov. 29 vote at the United Nations General Assembly to grant non-member observer “state” status to the Palestinians. The Palestinians’ unilateral effort to upgrade their status is a violation of signed agreements with Israel. Furthermore, it defies insistence by the international Quartet for Middle East peace, of which the U.N. itself is a member, that progress be made through direct negotiations between the parties.
…This unilateral move will only hurt any chance of moving peace talks forward, as it is, recent events should have reminded the world that there isn’t even unified control over the Palestinian territories. Hamas, which is committed to Israel’s destruction, continues to control the Gaza Strip. Even the Palestinian mission to the U.N., which brought today’s motion, features on its emblem a map of ‘Palestine’ that encompasses the entire State of Israel.”
World Jewish Congress: “The World Jewish Congress today denounced the vote taken by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to grant the Palestinians status as a non-member observer state. It is most ironic that this date, November 29th, was chosen for this egregious mistake on the part of the UN. On this same day, in 1947, the UN approved the partition plan, granting the Jewish people and the Arabs each a state. The results are well known- the Jewish people accepted it, and the Arabs did not, electing instead to go to war.
…Today’s vote in the United Nations does nothing to lead to a genuine and lasting peace in the Middle East, between the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples. Instead, it undermines this much-desired goal by contradicting its own UN resolutions, those that mandate resolving this conflict through direct negotiations between the parties. The designation of a Palestinian non-member observer state creates an illusion that will ultimately deeply disappoint the Palestinian people by raising unrealistic expectations.”