WASHINGTON – A routine Security Council debate on the Middle East and Palestine became Israel's and the Palestinian Authority's dress rehearsal for September's General Assembly conference where the Palestinians will seek UN recognition.
Palestinian observer Riyad Mansour called on the UN to recognize a Palestinian state. It's time to end the occupation, he said before bursting into tears. Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor warned that the Palestinian way of bypassing peace talks will lead to frustration and violence.
He later addressed Mansour and asked him: "On behalf of whom will you present a resolution in September? Mr. Abbas or Hamas?" He called on the Palestinians to embrace "a road of solutions not resolutions; dialogue not monologue; and direct negotiations not unilateral declarations."
Prosor continued: "There is much uncertainty about the future Palestinian government: its acceptance of the Quartet conditions, the peace process, control of its security forces, and many other questions… on these issues Israel and the international community must have clarity. For Israel, this so-called unity has only brought continued impunity for the terrorists that fire rockets into our cities."
He noted that "even the most basic condition for statehood does not exist. The Palestinian Authority does not maintain effective control of all its territory nor does it hold a monopoly on the use of force."
Addressing the Security Council members states, Prosor stressed: "Unilateral actions will not bring peace to our region. The Palestinian initiatives at the United Nations may be superficially attractive to some. Yet, they distract from the true path to peace. There are no shortcuts to statehood. You cannot bypass the only path to peace. The Palestinians will have to get off the bandwagon of unilateralism – and back to the hard work of direct peacemaking."
Mansour, on his part, accused the Israeli government of sabotaging peace efforts and defended the Palestinian bid as logical, just and in keeping with Security Council resolutions. He noted that the PA remains committed to September 2011, which he said could create the necessary dynamic for a breakthrough.
He said that the need for a resolution stems from Israel's failure to end the occupation and illegal settlement enterprise over the past 20 years. Mansour stressed this was not a unilateral action but rather one that will force Israel to abandon its own unilateralism in the settlements.
US Ambassador to the UN Rosemary A. DiCarlo said that Washington was committed to a just solution and stated that core issues could only be resolved through negotiations and not in the UN. She added that an effort to isolate Israel in the General Assembly will not promote a Palestinian state.