Israeli ambassador tells UN its tradition of marking November 29, which Israel sees as date legitimizing its independent existence, as day of mourning for Palestinian people is harmful to peace process
WASHINGTON – Israel's
ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, condemned the global organization's tradition of marking November 29, the date on which the UN approved its partition plan in 1947, as an occasion of "solidarity with the Palestinian people".
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Shalev's speech Tuesday before the General Assembly was heard by a vast majority of representatives of Muslim countries, who took advantage of the event to condemn Israel in various ways. Shalev said during her speech that the hostility towards Israel fostered by the UN event was harmful to peace negotiations in the region.
Shalev opened her speech with a famous quote. "33 for, 13 against, 10 abstentions. The resolution is approved. Those were the words at Lake Success on November 29, 1947 that announced the United Nations General Assembly adoption of resolution 181. Those were the words that conferred international legitimacy on the creation of two states for two peoples," she said.
"Yet the Arab side within the (British) mandate territory and across the region instantly rejected resolution 181. And Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon – members of the United Nations – launched a war of annihilation against Israel together with Jordan and the Arabs of Palestine."
The ambassador criticized the UN for its long-standing hostility towards Israel, which she said spanned from the moment the historic resolution was approved.
"How can it be that the debate in these halls embraces a one-sided narrative that promotes and maintains an obsessive and condemnatory focus on Israel? Today’s debate undermines the endorsement of the two-state solution. It reflects the reality of an automatic majority that ensures that any debate on the situation in the Middle East shall be unfruitful, destructive, cynical, and hateful," she said.
Shalev added that Israel was prepared to launch peace negotiations immediately and that it was willing to make "painful" concessions in an effort to realize the two-state plan envisioned by the UN in 1947.
"Do those in our region have the courage to say publicly that Israel is the legitimate nation-state of the Jewish people? Do the members of this body have the courage to confront Hamas and Hizbullah and all those for whom there is no two-state solution?" she asked.
Prior to her speech, Shalev sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which she launched an official complaint on the rocket fire towards Israel from Gaza over the past month.