Conference of Presidents Leaders Call on U.S. to Say It Will Veto Palestinian Inspired Security Council Resolutions

New York, NY, December 21, 2016 …Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations today called on the United States to “unequivocally affirm” that it would veto any one-sided condemnatory United Nations Security Council resolution on the Palestinian-Israeli issue if it is presented to the Council for a vote.

Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, of the Conference of Presidents said, “The resolutions, one being promoted by the Palestinians, and another presented by New Zealand, represent the latest misguided effort to enlist the Security Council to provide an escape route for the Palestinians to evade their obligations to negotiate directly with Israel to reach a final agreement ending the conflict.  We have seen this kind of evasive maneuver by the Palestinians before.

As the Obama administration did in very similar circumstances in 2011, we urge the President to clearly state the opposition of the U.S. to the current draft resolutions and to unequivocally affirm it will again exercise its veto in the Council, if they are not withdrawn. 

As then UN Ambassador Susan Rice explained the U.S. veto of a Palestinian inspired settlements resolution in 2011,

            It is the Israelis’ and Palestinians’ conflict, and even the best-intentioned outsiders cannot resolve it for them. Therefore every potential action must be measured against one overriding standard: will it move the parties closer to negotiations and an agreement? Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides. It could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations and, if and when they did resume, to return to the Security Council whenever they reach an impasse.’

And, as Ambassador Samantha Power noted in 2014 explaining the U.S. vote against yet another inappropriate Security Council resolution instigated by the Palestinians,

We voted against it because we know what everyone here knows, as well – peace will come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at the negotiating table.’

The reasons given by the Obama administration for the U.S. veto in 2011 and the vote that defeated the resolution in 2014 are even more compelling today.  Since that time, the Palestinians have intensified their tactics of using the UN and it agencies as a shield to deflect, delay and, perhaps destroy the possibility of, direct engagement in negotiations with Israel. 

Today, on the eve of a new U.S. administration, is not the time to alter the course of a sound and consistent U.S. policy at the U.N. Security Council.  It is a time to reiterate and emphasize the approach that has preserved the possibility for the parties themselves to directly tackle the issues that will lead to a comprehensive agreement ending the conflict.

We would add that allowing the proposed resolutions to be adopted will also unduly restrict the incoming administration’s ability to pursue policies to advance peace and encourage the parties to deal directly with each other.”

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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