(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Palestinians could lose the achievements of the last 15 years if they
continue to pursue their unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations,
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post on
Sunday, as he sat in the lobby of a New York hotel.
Like many Israeli
politicians and diplomats, he was wrapping up a visit to New York to lobby
against a bid by Palestinians to bypass a negotiated peace.
“There is a
better understanding now of the type of threats that a unilaterally-declared
state poses, not just to Israel, but to the Palestinians themselves,” he
It’s understood that unilateral moves would harm the Palestinians’
aspiration to statehood, he said. It would jeopardize agreements that Israel and
the United States have with the PA, added Oren.
Should the Palestinians
continue with their unilateral bid, “they stand to lose some of the substantive
gains they have achieved over the last 15 years, which would be a tragedy for
the Palestinians and a setback for the peace process,” Oren said.Oren urges Palestinians to resume peace talks
most Israeli diplomats and politicians these days, he has one message for the
Palestinians: return to the negotiating table.
Palestinians have refused
to talk with Israel unless it halts settlement construction and Jewish building
in east Jerusalem.RELATED:Merkel urges Abbas to accept Quartet peace
initiative'We won't renew settlement freeze to lure PA to
Oren said that Israel is “committed to sitting
face-to-face anywhere – in Jerusalem, in Ramallah, any place – with the
There are no pre-conditions set on these talks
and that all issues: refugees, security, borders and Jerusalem were open to
negotiations, he said.
As a result, he said, Israel viewed favorably the
new Quartet proposal that called for a new round of talks to end by December
“We were pleased to see that the Quartet has called for an
immediate return of the Palestinians to the negotiating table with us, without
pre-conditions,” said Oren.
But he said it was his understanding that the
Palestinians were unlikely to accept the Quartet proposal.
said, was waiting to see if the Palestinians planned to continue with their bid
for UN membership, which must first pass the Security Council. The initial
debate on the matter was due to begin Monday, after press time.'US has drawn closer to Israel'
and other like-minded nations are working to prevent the Security Council from
approving the Palestinian request, he said.
“The US is working tirelessly
to generate a blocking front in the Security Council. The US is committed to
stopping this resolution,” he said, adding, “It will not pass.”
as Israel does, emphasizes that there is no alternative to direct negotiations
for a two-state solution,” he said.
The United States, Oren said, has
drawn closer to Israel.
“The US and Israel are more closely coordinated
now than they have been at any time in the last two years, or more,” he
“We see things very much eye-to- eye on how to move
On Wednesday, when US President Barack Obama addressed the UN
General Assembly in New York, he spoke “quite strongly,” said Oren, in support
of Israel and its security needs.
“The most important thing was the
strong emphasis placed on the connection between the Jewish people and the land
of Israel,” said Oren.