Jerusalem, Sept. 14 - The United States contends that direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, not a Palestinian unilateral bid for recognition of statehood at the United Nations, will lead to a two-state solution and lasting peace. To that end, the U.S. has dispatched top envoys Dennis Ross and David Hale to the region in a last-ditch effort to restart peace talks as an alternative to the Palestinian U.N. statehood bid.
Speaking to the media in Washington, Tuesday (Sept. 13), U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “We need an environment that is conducive to direct negotiations. We all know that no matter what happens or doesn't happen at the U.N., the next day is not going to result in the kind of changes that the United States wishes to see that will move us toward the two-state solution that we strongly support.”
“The only way of getting a lasting solution is through direct negotiations between the parties, and the route to that lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah, not in New York,” said Clinton, who added that action in New York “will not bring peace and stability” but will create “more distractions toward achieving that goal.”
Clinton explained that the peace framework laid out in President Barack Obama’s policy speech in May is still the main goal. In his address, Obama said the Palestinians should renounce violence and Israel has the right to defend its borders against the threat of terror. He also said a peaceful solution to the conflict would mean two independent states based along the 1967 lines with land swaps to account for demographic changes since that time.
The Quartet on the Middle East, comprising Russia, the EU, the U.S. and the U.N., has also urged the resumption of direct negotiations between the parties. It contends that mediated negotiations - rather than unilateral maneuvers at the U.N. - will bring improvements for the Palestinian and Israeli people. Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair recently said he is optimistic about the economic potential that peace and stability can bring. He was speaking at a conference on regional economic cooperation in Tel Aviv.
The Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition may go through the U.N. Security Council for a vote first or, alternatively, go straight to the U.N. General Assembly, where a majority of countries are said to be supportive of the maneuver.
Yet some diplomats have divulged that they feel pressure to vote for the recognition because they fear revenge from Arab and Muslim states – which represent the largest bloc with significant clout vis-à-vis voting and bargaining power at the U.N.
“Sources said some countries will support the Palestinians not because they believe in their cause, but because Muslim and Arab countries may take punitive measures against them when they will need support in the Security Council or in bids to be appointed to important UN bodies,” the Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported.