US Warns PA Statehood Bid Would Jeopardize Peace Process
The Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood at the United Nations next month would jeopardize the peace process with Israel, U.S. ambassador Susan Rice said Monday during a Security Council debate on the Middle East.
The United States was able to stop the PA’s bid for statehood last year by threatening a veto at the Security Council. This time, however, they are seeking recognition as a non-member state, similar to the Vatican, which only needs approval by the General Assembly and is not subject to veto.
“Unilateral actions, including initiatives to grant Palestinians non-member state observer status at the United Nations, would only jeopardize the peace process and complicate efforts to return the parties to direct negotiations,” Rice said. “Any efforts to use international fora to prejudge final status issues that can only be resolved directly by the parties will neither improve the daily lives of Palestinians nor foster the trust essential to make progress towards a two-state solution.”
Rice did not miss an opportunity to denounce Israel for “continued settlement activity” and demand that the Jewish state take a more active role in combating “anti-Palestinian violence and extremist hate crimes.”
“Israel should step up its efforts to deter, confront and prosecute anti-Palestinian violence and extremist hate crimes, including vandalism at religious sites,” Rice said. “We agree with President Peres that 'holy sites must not be harmed.' In the West Bank, the recent and repeated destruction of Palestinian olive groves, a critical source of income for the local population, is deplorable. We look to Israeli authorities to act decisively to protect these resources and investigate such acts.”
While Rice seized the occasion to apply a blatant double standard to Israel, she failed to mention the continued Arab violence and hate crimes against Jews and Israelis.
Moreover, volunteers from the Shomron Regional Council on Monday filmed Arabs and a foreign leftist activist cutting down trunks of olive trees and branches next to the community of Elon Moreh, to create a provocation.
While Rice lamented the “repeated destruction of Palestinian land groves,” such incidents, which frequently occur against the Jewish population, go left unnoticed.
“Like every U.S. administration for decades, we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. We continue to oppose any efforts to legalize outposts. The fate of existing settlements must be dealt with by the parties along with other permanent-status issues,” Rice added.