Washington, DC - In the context of the approaching start of the United Nations General Assembly session, APN President and CEO Debra DeLee today issued the following statement:
"It has long been known that come September, there could be a major crisis at the UN over the issue of Palestine. Unfortunately, that knowledge hasn't yet translated into serious efforts to avert the impending crisis. Instead, while settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to expand, efforts over the past months have focused exclusively on pushing the Palestinians to return to a negotiating process that long ago lost all credibility.
"It is regrettable that this has been the case. A showdown at the UN entails real risks for Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States, particularly in the context of the ongoing upheaval across the Arab world.
"Given these risks, we continue to urge the Obama Administration, in the short time that remains, to demonstrate real leadership by offering a bold initiative that can forestall an unnecessary and politically explosive showdown in either the United Nations Security Council or the General Assembly. This could take the form of action to re-accredit negotiations and launch a peace process capable of delivering tangible and quick results, or action to transform the proposed UN initiative on Palestine into something broader and far more significant - for example, a resolution at the Security Council embracing key peace parameters. We recognize that the likelihood of such action by the Obama Administration is remote.
"At the same time, we urge the Obama Administration to start laying the groundwork, now, for a constructive way forward the day after UN action related to the Palestinians. The lives and futures of Israelis and Palestinians will remain entwined, even after this session of the UN General Assembly ends in a few weeks. At that time, it will require leadership to stand up to those forces who will want to lash out, grandstand, or try to exploit the moment to definitively shut the door on peace. This includes those who may resort to violence and those who may resort to intemperate actions, like trying to cut off U.S. assistance to the Palestinians, increasing Israeli settlement activity, or pressing for Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank.
"Finally, with respect to APN's position regarding whatever action may take place, either in the Security Council or the General Assembly, we have made clear that we will judge any resolutions on their merits. We believe that only negotiations can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the same time, we recognize the Palestinians' right to seek recognition at the UN. We believe their decision to do so reflects not a rejection of negotiations, but the loss of credibility of those negotiations, as well as the realization that the situation is nearing the point at which settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will make the two-state solution unworkable. Moreover, we recognize that there are important positive elements in this UN effort, including the fact that it reflects a continued commitment to achieving progress through non-violent means, and the fact that it is predicated on acceptance of the two-state solution, seeking recognition of a state inside the 1967 lines, and in no way challenging Israel's right to exist inside the Green Line."