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Photo: AFP
Outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor
Photo: AFP
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Haim Ramon
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Speechless: The farewell address Israel's UN envoy should have delivered

Op-ed: Instead of whining that the entire world is against us, Ron Prosor should have used his final speech to reach out to the Palestinians and express support for the two-state solution.

Ron Prosor is one of the most highly regarded diplomats in Israel's foreign service. About a week ago, he completed his term as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations with a farewell speech. Unfortunately, it was a whining and victimization speech: "The UN is against us," "the world is anti-Semitic and hypocrite," etc.

 

 

You should have delivered an opposite speech, Mr. Prosor. A farewell speech like the following one:

 

"Honorable ambassadors, in my address to the assembly which recognized my people's right to establish an independent Jewish state in the Land of Israel 68 years ago, you are expecting me to stress my objection to flying the Palestine flag over the UN headquarters. I am going to surprise you, however, and announce a new era: Not only does Israel not oppose raising the Palestine flag, it even supports it.

 

Ambassador Prosor (top left) watches Prime Minister Netanyahu address the UN General Assembly.  'This policy is leading Israel to its end as a state with a stable Jewish majority' (Photo: Shahar Azran)
Ambassador Prosor (top left) watches Prime Minister Netanyahu address the UN General Assembly. 'This policy is leading Israel to its end as a state with a stable Jewish majority' (Photo: Shahar Azran)
 

"Several days ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to work to implement the two-state solution in his meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Over the past few years, many of you have said to me that whoever continues to encourage the settlement enterprise and double the number of settlements beyond the settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria is striving to turn the two-state principle into words lacking any practical meaning. I would like to clarify, therefore, that the State of Israel sees this solution first of all as a clear Jewish, Zionist, vital Israeli interest.

 

"The current situation in Judea and Samaria raises doubts over Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state, threatens our national existence more than the 'Iranian threat' and turns us into a bi-national state. Our aspiration is that our state will finally have borders which are recognized by the world and by our neighbors.

 

"I recognize the reality in which the lives of about three million people depend on the military rule controlling the territories Israel occupied almost 50 years ago: Without recognized political and diplomatic rights and in a discriminating and harmful daily reality, under the circumstances. This reality is tough, unbearable and even dangerous and is explosive for both sides.

 

"Therefore, Israel is in favor of flying the Palestine flag over UN institutions, and will support granting Palestine a full membership in the organization's institutions, from the simple reason that the conflict between us today is essentially over setting the border between us and the crucial security arrangements for Israel. The principle of establishing a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel is indisputable.

 

"I call on the Palestinian Authority to resume the negotiations with the Israeli government immediately and hold them in Jerusalem and in Ramallah, alternately. At the first stage, the negotiations will focus on setting the final borders between the states - Israel and Palestine, which will be established within these acceptable borders.

 

"At the same time, the sides will discuss the security arrangements which are crucial for the wellbeing of the State of Israel and its citizens. The negotiations will open with a joint, binding statement, which will say that all the disputable issues between the sides will only be solved through peaceful means.

 

"As an expression of the seriousness of our intents, Israel will stop building new settlements and expanding existing settlements in the territories which do not belong to the settlement blocs, and will immediately set up a voluntary 'evacuation and compensation' system for any Israeli resident living beyond the settlement blocs who wishes to move into the future permanent borders.

 

"Until the permanent agreement is reached, Israel will insist that the Israeli security alignment in Judea and Samaria will continue to operate in the same format it is operating today."

 

But this speech was not delivered, and it won't be delivered. The current Israeli government and the vast majority of the coalition members are strongly against the two-state solution. They are led by Netanyahu. All his actions as prime minister in the past, and mainly in the past six months, have been aimed at thwarting this solution.

 

His declaration, about half a year ago, against the establishment of a Palestinian state, is his real stance. Whoever doubts that can review his remarks at the latest Herzliya Conference, where he stated that from the security aspect, Israel must remain forever in all Judea and Samaria territories, including the Palestinian cities. This policy is leading Israel to its end as a state with a stable Jewish majority, and will necessarily create a bi-national state.

 

It’s a shame that this speech was not delivered by Prosor, and it’s a shame that it has not been delivered yet by Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog, as an alternative to the policy led by Netanyahu.

 

Haim Ramon served as a member of the Knesset and a minister between 1983 and 2009 on behalf of the Labor Party and Kadima.

 


פרסום ראשון: 09.24.15, 13:06
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