NEW YORK – The UN observed the 64th anniversary of the vote to partition Mandatory Palestine with an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Tuesday, with speeches and General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel on the agenda both Tuesday and Wednesday.

In a powerful address to the General Assembly late on Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor told the body that it exacerbates rather than resolves the Middle East conflict with such commemorations.

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“It takes a well of truth to water the seeds of peace,” Prosor said. “Yet, we continue to witness a drought of candor in this body’s discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On this historic day, real facts in the General Assembly remain few and far between.”

Tuesday’s presentations in “solidarity with the Palestinian people,” Prosor said, present “a distorted and impartial version of history. It transforms the cause of Palestinian self-determination into a deliberate attempt to denigrate, defame and delegitimize the State of Israel.”

The ambassador recounted the history of the establishment of the State of Israel, not as a calamity but rather as a people being restored to its ancient homeland. In response, the Arab nations declared war on the Jewish state, he said.

“One percent of Israel’s population died in combat during this assault by five armies [in 1948]. Think about that price,” Prosor said. “It would be the equivalent of 850,000 soldiers dying in France today, or 3 million soldiers dying in the United States, or 13 million soldiers dying in China.”

While many Arabs became refugees as a result of the War of Independence, Prosor said, so did Jews – and the difference between the two nations lay in the fact that Jewish refugees were absorbed into Israeli society, while Palestinian refugees were not.

Prosor cited discrimination against Palestinians in various Arab nations: “In the vast majority of Arab countries, Palestinians have no rights of citizenship. It is no coincidence that the Arab world’s responsibilities for the ‘inalienable rights’ of these Palestinians never appear in the resolutions before you.”

At one powerful moment, Prosor said that “the basic question underlying our conflict for 64 years has not changed. That question is: Has the Arab world – and particularly the Palestinians – internalized that Israel is here to stay and will remain the nation-state of the Jewish People? It is still unclear whether they are inspired by the promise of building a new state, or the goal of destroying an existing one.”

Prosor noted that during Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the General Assembly in September, Abbas deliberately refrained from mentioning any historic link between Israel and the Jewish People.

“This was not an oversight,” Prosor said. “It was not a slip of the tongue. It was yet another deliberate attempt to deny more than 3,000 years of Jewish history.”

Palestinian leaders, Prosor said, have never, in 64 years, used the term “the Jewish state” to describe Israel.

He called the Palestinian “right of return” “a non-starter.”

“Palestinian leaders call for an independent Palestinian state, but insist that the Palestinian people return to the Jewish state,” Prosor said. “This is a proposition that no one who believes in the right of Israel to exist could ever accept.

“The idea that Israel will be flooded with millions of Palestinians is a nonstarter. The international community knows it. The Palestinian leadership knows it. But the Palestinian people aren’t hearing it,” the ambassador said. “At this very moment, the gap between their perception and reality remains the major obstacle to peace.”

Prosor cited numerous examples of terrorist attacks against Israelis that the General Assembly did nothing to address or to condemn.

Sustainable peace, he said, “must come from a Palestinian leadership willing to tell its people about the difficult compromises that they will have to make for statehood. It will come through the hard work of state-building, not the old habit of state-bashing."

The General Assembly also commemorated the day by adopting six resolutions on Israel and the Palestinians.

One resolution “reiterates [the General Assembly’s] determination that any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

The resolution added that “a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of the City of Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and Israeli sides and should include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants.”


Another resolution “declares that the Israeli decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and has no validity whatsoever... and calls upon Israel to rescind it.”

Another resolution called on Israel to withdraw from territory occupied since 1967, including east Jerusalem, and for the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities.

Another three resolutions applauded the work of the UN’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, in pursuing the rights of Palestinians.

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