The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon President Barack Obama to give an unequivocal commitment to oppose a renewed Palestinian bid for statehood via the United Nations following the U.S. elections, should he win re-election. The ZOA pointed to the fact that a similar bid for statehood within the UN system last year failed in part because the Obama Administration promised to veto such a proposal if it came before the U.N. Security Council.
At the time of the Palestinian statehood push last year, Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs stated during her Senate confirmation hearings that “The United States is very resolved to a veto threat in the Security Council. What we are very resolved about as well is urging the parties to enter into direct negotiations again … The President has been very clear that a UN resolution to recognize Palestine will not get us to the two-state solution that both parties seek, and that most of the world seeks,” Sherman said at her confirmation hearing. Also, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “I think the president’s been clear all along that he opposes this, and has also made clear that the U.S. would oppose such a move firmly in the U.N.” (Josh Rogan, ‘Obama administration confirms it would veto Palestinian statehood at the U.N.,’ Foreign Policy ‘The Cable’ blog, September 8, 2011). Ms. Sherman also said, “The administration has been very clear that if any such resolution were put in front of the Security Council, that we would veto it” (Natasha Mozgovaya, ‘State Department official says U.S. would veto Palestinian UN bid,’ Haaretz, September 9, 2011).
ZOA Executive Director David Drimer and the Director of the ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy Dr. Daniel Mandel said, “It would be wrong and strategically dangerous if Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) be permitted to obtain statehood by circumventing negotiations and peace-making with Israel.
“Mahmoud Abbas is seeking to obtain statehood without negotiations with Israel because he refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and take basic steps – such as ending incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps – that are essential to peace-making. He seeks to avoid an agreement because it would entail a genuine end of conflict and end to claims upon Israel.
“We have it direct from Mahmoud Abbas himself that, as he put it in a May 2011 New York Times op-ed, ‘Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.’
“The PA is violating its Oslo commitments, specifically the 1995 Oslo II agreement, by seeking to alter the status quo by any means other than negotiations with Israel. Oslo II stipulates that ‘Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.’
“Under prevailing conditions, a PA state would be a racist, anti-Semitic terrorist beggar state. It is therefore vital that President Obama explicitly renew the commitment he gave last year to oppose any future Palestinian statehood bid via the UN.”