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UN Speeches Underscore Need for Leadership to End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) urges the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to focus on peacemaking rather than on point scoring, and urges world leaders to help broker Israeli-Palestinian peace. 

As hostilities flare up in the West Bank today, APN expresses deep concern over a possible escalation and calls on Israelis and Palestinians to avoid violence. APN calls on Palestinians to use nonviolent means to express their grievances, and urges Israel to exercise restraint.

Commenting on the speeches today by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations, APN President and CEO Debra DeLee said:

"Today's speeches from Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, coming on the heels of President Obama's speech earlier this week, underscore just how desperately Israelis and Palestinians need real leadership to get past their grievances and recriminations, to a place where a conflict-ending agreement will be possible in the near term. This is what most Israelis and Palestinians want.  Neither side craves constant conflict. Neither side sees itself as an aggressor.  Both sides view themselves, with good reasons, as victims.  

"The unfortunate choice of the United Nations as a venue for laying out historical narratives makes the point that regardless of what may happen in the Security Council or the General Assembly, it is at the negotiating table where the parties will have to reach their historic compromise. There the parties will need the resolute engagement of the international community if they are to finally make the painful compromises that have been so long in coming. 

"It is now time for all to focus on the road ahead, which must lead to a conflict-ending agreement, an agreement that can pave the way, sooner rather than later, for the unopposed admittance of a viable, functioning state of Palestine to the United Nations. 

"It is time for leaders - in Israel, Palestine, and the international community - to rise above the politics and the game-playing, the desire to save face and the temptation to score points.  With this UN drama now nearly concluded, it is time for all the stakeholders to stand up and say: the time has come for this conflict to end.  

"What we've heard at the UN these past few days, from the direct stakeholders and from leaders from around the globe, demonstrates that peace cannot be postponed indefinitely. This meeting of the UN should be the basis for an invigorated international effort to end this conflict. The international community must step up to oppose actions on the ground that further undermine the chances of achieving peace and the credibility of the two-state solution. The international community must likewise step up to support the Palestinian Authority's ongoing state-building efforts, to support continued Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, and to put into place a credible political horizon that can restore confidence among both Israelis and Palestinians, that peace is not only possible, but is inevitable and coming soon."