US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice 311 .
(photo credit: Reuters/ Jim Young)
NEW YORK – Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said on Thursday America is not involved in trying to tone down a draft UN resolution on Palestinian statehood.
“We’re not negotiating any text, we’re not engaged in efforts to water down a text,” Rice said in a briefing with Jewish journalists. “We’re making the case that this is not a productive course.”
Palestinians say not yet decided on UN course of action
Rice dismissed as false rumors that a draft text even exists, but she said the Europeans were talking with the Palestinians about the substance of a resolution.
“There is no Palestinian text yet,” she said. “Nobody in New York has seen one.”
The Obama administration has vowed to veto any Palestinian statehood resolution that reaches the UN Security Council. But a resolution favoring Palestinian membership in the United Nations likely would win passage in the UN General Assembly, where the majority of member nations already have recognized a Palestinian state bilaterally, albeit in varying forms.
Rice warned that such a measure “would not be without consequences in the real world.”
Members of Congress have proposed revoking US aid to the Palestinian Authority if the Palestinians seek UN recognition next week, and Israeli officials have warned that Israel could respond to unilateral Palestinian action at the United Nations with everything from suspension of tax payments to the Palestinian Authority to annexation of parts of the West Bank.
Rice’s first briefing for journalists from the Jewish media came as the Obama administration is reaching out to American Jews in an effort to bolster support for President Obama and convince Jewish voters and fund-raisers that he is pro-Israel. The upset loss by the Democratic candidate in this week’s special congressional race in New York is being cast by many as a sign that Jewish voters, who comprise a large proportion of a district represented by Anthony Weiner until his scandal-induced resignation, are disenchanted with the president, particularly on Israel issues.
Rice sought to counter the notion that Obama has fallen short of the
mark on Israel. She said Obama has done more than any previous president
to ratchet up the pressure and sanctions on Iran, and has enhanced
Israel’s security by increasing foreign military financing. She also
noted the praise that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and
ex-Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy lavished on Obama for helping secure the
safe release of Israeli diplomatic personnel in Cairo who were trapped
in their embassy last Friday while an Egyptian mob broke into and
ransacked the building.
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