With the breakdown of US-led bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), attention is shifting to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a platform to advance diplomatic resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. J Street urges the Obama administration to view such a development as an opportunity and to look for ways to work with international allies to use a Security Council resolution as a springboard for meaningful negotiations, rather than taking a position that it should veto all resolutions on this subject as a matter of course.
Some months back, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced his intention to seek a UNSC resolution that would set forth parameters – and a two-year deadline – for negotiations with Israel leading to the creation of a Palestinian state. Now, the Arab League and European countries led by France are indicating their intentions to push forward their own versions of a resolution that would include parameters and a deadline.
J Street is acutely aware of the history of anti-Israel bias at United Nations bodies and is dismayed at the ongoing, disproportionate focus on Israel’s behavior in the General Assembly and in other UN agencies. Despite the UN’s role in Israel’s creation and its important work globally on many issues including humanitarian relief and peacekeeping, the United Nations arouses justifiable mistrust when it comes to matters related to Israel. Accordingly, we continue to strongly oppose any UN action under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter which would seek to impose a resolution of the conflict or sanction Israel in any way. We would also oppose the Palestinian resolution as reportedly drafted, which singles Israel out for criticism and differs from longstanding US policy in a number of significant areas.
The two-state solution is the best way to safeguard Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people. The US Government and other friends of Israel should realize that providing the Palestinian people with a viable path, backed by the international community, to fulfill their legitimate aspirations for a state is the best way to avert Israeli isolation or even sanction in international institutions like the UN and the International Criminal Court.
We believe that the work going on right now around possible UNSC resolutions presents the US with an opportunity to play a constructive role in shaping a resolution that is consistent with longstanding US policy and internationally accepted parameters on which a two-state solution would be achieved.
This outline would specify the need to establish borders based on pre-1967 lines with swaps, a Palestinian capital in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, mutual recognition and guarantees for the security of both states, an agreed-upon resolution to the refugee issue, mutual recognition by Israel and a new state of Palestine of each other as the national homeland of their respective people – and a diplomatic process to achieve agreement within a set period of time. The US and the international community should then invite the parties to reconvene talks based on the basis of that resolution.
Seventy-six percent of American Jews would support the US Government putting forward a plan for resolving the conflict based on the parameters outlined above. With Israel’s Jewish and democratic character under long-term threat, and both Israelis and Palestinians suffering an endless cycle of violence, J Street urges President Obama not to miss the opportunity to shape a UN Security Council resolution that could advance the prospects for a two-state solution.