WASHINGTON - Participation in United Nations forums that refer to a "State of Palestine" does not constitute US recognition of Palestinian statehood, UN Ambassador Susan Rice said.
"Any reference to the 'State of Palestine' in the United Nations, including the use of the term 'State of Palestine' on the placard in the Security Council or the use of the term 'State of Palestine' in the invitation to this meeting or other arrangements for participation in this meeting, do not reflect acquiescence that Palestine is a state," Rice, the US envoy to the world body, said Wednesday at a Security Council debate on the Middle East.
The United States was one of seven nations, including Israel, that voted Nov. 29 against elevating the Palestine Liberation Organization's status to non-member state in the General Assembly. The motion passed with 138 voting for and 41 abstaining.
Rice said Wednesday that the resolution, which recognized Palestine as being within the 1967 lines, carried no weight.
"As we have said repeatedly, the only way to establish a real Palestinian state is through the painstaking work of direct negotiations on final-status issues, without preconditions, between the Israelis and Palestinians," she said.
Rice also reiterated US opposition to Israeli settlement building, particularly in the E-1 corridor between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim in the West Bank, which Palestinians contend would choke the viability of their state.
"Throughout our engagement, we have reiterated our longstanding opposition to Israel’s West Bank settlement activity, as well as construction in East Jerusalem, which run counter to the cause of peace," she said. "Construction in the E-1 area would be especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution, and we have urged Israeli leaders to reconsider these unilateral decisions and to exercise restraint."