NY Times: UN Security Council should set Israeli-Palestinian peace terms

“The most plausible pressure would come from Mr. Obama’s leading the Security Council to put its authority behind a resolution to support a two-state solution."

October 7, 2016 13:28
3 minute read.
The headquarters of the New York Times is pictured on 8th Avenue in New York

The headquarters of the New York Times is pictured on 8th Avenue in New York. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The New York Times, in an unusual move, has called on the United Nations Security Council to set the parameters for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The best idea under discussion now would be to have the United Nations Security Council, in an official resolution, lay down guidelines for a peace agreement covering such issues as Israel’s security, the future of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees and borders for both states,” the paper’s Editorial Board stated.

The paper’s editorial, published Thursday, further called on US President Barack Obama to lead the charge at the UNSC.

“The most plausible pressure would come from Mr. Obama’s leading the Security Council to put its authority behind a resolution to support a two-state solution and offer the outlines of what that could be.

“That may seem like a bureaucratic response unlikely to change anything, but it is the kind of political pressure Mr. Netanyahu abhors and has been working assiduously to prevent,” the New York Times wrote.

It issued its editorial just one week before the United Nations Security Council on October 14th is due to hold a public debate, known as an Arria Formula meeting, on Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and Jewish building in east Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority asked the Security Council to hold that meeting, in hopes that it would spur UNSC action on the matter. It has also attempted without success, to push the UN Security Council members to issue a resolution, such as the one described in the New York Times Editorial.

The United States and Israel have opposed any UNSC efforts to dictate the terms of a two-state solution, preferring instead a directly negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinian parties.

With an eye to the changing US administration in January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already met with both American presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, to urge them to oppose such unilateral moves at the UN.

On Wednesday, in Washington, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner reiterated the Obama administration’s long standing position to oppose biased and one-sided UN resolutions against Israel.

“With regard to the UN Security Council and any action at the UN, our position hasn’t changed. We’re always concerned, frankly, about one-sided resolutions or other actions that could be taken within the UN, and we’re always going to oppose those kinds of resolutions that we believe delegitimize Israel and undermine its security,” Toner said.

As one of five countries on the UNSC with veto power, the US has blocked Palestinian led attempts by the body to issue condemnations or resolutions against Israel, particularly with regard to the settlements.

But speculation is high that US President Barack Obama might change his position with regard to UNSC and Israel in the two months that remain after the November election, before he leaves office in January.

During Wednesday's press briefing with reporters, Toner hinted that the US position on this matter could change. “We’re going to carefully consider our future engagement, if and when we reach that point, and determine how to most effectively pursue and advance the objective that we all at least claim to share, which is that of achieving a negotiated two-state solution,” Toner said.

The question about a UNSC resolution was raised by reporters, in the wake of a strongly worded US condemnation of the advancement of plans to build a new neighborhood of the Shiloh settlement.

The plans for the 98 new settler homes has yet to be permitted, although it is expected that the approvals will be forthcoming.

Although the neighborhood, of what would eventually be 300 new homes, is within the community’s boundaries, the US and the Palestinians spoke of the homes as if they were a new settlement.

The Palestinians have insisted that settlement activity is the obstacle to the creation of a two-state solution. They have refused to hold direct talks with Israel until such time as Israel halts settlement activity in the West Bank and Jewish building in east Jerusalem.

Israel has repeatedly called on the Palestinians to hold such talks without pre-conditions. Israel has said that the Palestinians' refusal to negotiate is the stumbling bloc to the peace process.

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