NEW YORK – The UN marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Monday, the anniversary of the General Assembly’s 1947 vote for partition.
The day was marked by speeches, resolutions and pro- Palestinian performances, most of which expressed frustration or anger with Israel.
In a message read at the UN headquarters, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called West Bank settlements a “time bomb.”
Abbas said in the message that the deterioration in the peace process “requires bringing a decisive and final end to the vicious Israeli settlement campaign,” and that continued settlement “constitutes a time bomb that could destroy everything we have accomplished on the road to peace, at any moment.”
Responding to this “destructive rhetoric,” Israeli UN envoy Meron Reuben retorted, “It takes two to tango, Israel cannot reach peace on its own.”
He said the designation of the day as a day of solidarity with the Palestinians further polemicized, rather than promoted, the peace process.
“Instead of working to bring the parties together in meaningful negotiations and preparing the Palestinians to make the tough choices that will be required to reach an agreement, this distinguished forum engages in the same ritual condemnation of Israel, feeding Palestinian notions of victimhood,” Reuben told the General Assembly.
Reuben called on the PA to resume negotiations with Israel, and said the Day of Solidarity was emblematic of a “tired diatribe.”
The UN faces a clear choice, to either pursue a politicized agenda, or instead, to “take a more constructive approach – and work to bring the parties together in making real compromises and pursuing peace, recognizing that this is the fundamental way to support the rights of the Palestinian people,” Reuben said.
Jan Grauls, the permanent representative to the UN from Belgium, in his
statement on behalf of the European Union, advocated a negotiated
twostate solution, and urged more efforts to overcome the negotiations
Settlements in occupied territory are illegal under international law
and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible, he said.
Grauls reiterated the European Union’s call on Israel to end all
settlement activities, including in east Jerusalem. He stressed that for
genuine peace, Jerusalem must be the future capital of two states.
UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon said settlement building is “a serious blow to the credibility of the political process.”
Ban was careful, however, to also say that it is incumbent upon
Palestinians to “continue to roll out the institutions of statehood,
combat terrorist attacks and curb incitement.”
The day was marked by several draft resolutions, including one proposed
by Libya that “invites all member states and United Nations organs,
including the Security Council, to provide support for the establishment
of a single state for both the Jews and the Palestinians which upholds
the right of return for all refugees and displaced persons and embraces
the values of democracy, justice and human rights.”
Another draft resolution sought to “reaffirm the illegality of Israeli
actions intended at changing the status of Jerusalem, including measures
such as the so-called ‘E-1 plan.’” The resolution would also “reaffirm
the illegality of other unilateral measures that are contrary to
international law and endeavor to alter the character, status and
demographic composition of the city and the territory as a whole, among
them, Israel’s construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.”
The draft resolutions are under consideration by the General Assembly.
No resolution proposing unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,
however, was placed on the table.
In another recognition of the anniversary of the partition vote,
boycotts and “buy-cotts” of Israeli products were scheduled for the New
York area on Tuesday.
Anti-Israel activists planned to target New York store Ricky’s, which
carries Ahava goods. Boycott efforts have also been directed at Costco
and Trader Joe’s for carrying Israeli products.
In a counter-campaign, pro- Israel groups designated Tuesday a BIG (Buy Israeli Goods) Day.
“Let us show anyone that calls for boycotts of even one or two stores,
that it will always be met with a much larger counter- movement to buy
Israeli goods,” StandWithUs website stated.
StandWithUs and the America- Israel Chambers of Commerce “calls on
schools, college campuses, synagogues, community organizations and
individuals to designate Tuesday, November 30, as the day to actively
Buy Israeli Goods,” the StandWith- Us.com read, recommending that
consumers request Israeli products and purchase the very goods being
targeted by boycotters.