Ex-UN envoy: 'US may not veto Palestinian State'

On this week's 20 Questions, former UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev discusses Israel's flailing support at the UN, its diplomatic mistakes, and the Palestinian push for statehood.

By DEBORAH DANAN
March 20, 2011 22:34
3 minute read.
20 questions

20 questions 58. (photo credit: courtsey)

 
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Gabriela Shalev, the former ambassador to the UN, tells “20 Questions” her thoughts on the UN’s response to the Itamar massacres, Israel’s place in the UN, and whether Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was correct in responding to the stabbings by promising to build 500 residential units.

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While Shalev asserts that the UN is not a lost cause for Israel, she admits that during her two year sojourn as ambassador she encountered heavy resistance for Israel’s cause, especially on the part of members of the Arab League during the Goldstone affair.

Shalev agrees with her predecessor Dan Gillerman, who recently condemned Israel’s neglect in appointing an ambassador to the UN for over six months, explaining that it was both harmful and damaging to the Jewish State. Shalev further added that the neglect demonstrated a disregard for the UN on the part of the country’s leaders.

When asked if she believes that come September, the US will once again use its veto against establishing a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, Shalev said that there can be no certainty in such an outcome. She commented that the reluctance manifested when the previous veto was given seems to indicate towards a negative outcome in the future, and needless to say, the Obama-led America of today drastically differs from the America under the Bush administration.

Regarding the Palestinian push for statehood, Shalev fears that the Palestinians will use an obscure resolution from the 1950s which states that if the UNSC cannot come to an agreement regarding the Palestinian question, it will be referred to the UN General Assembly whereby the latter can have the power to make “concrete recommendations for ‘collective measures’” – in other words, a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian State. Shalev emphasized that if made, such a declaration would present an unprecedented obstacle to the peace process.


Shalev agrees with her predecessor Dan Gillerman, who recently condemned Israel’s neglect in appointing an ambassador to the UN for over six months, explaining that it was both harmful and damaging to the Jewish State. Shalev further added that the neglect demonstrated a disregard for the UN on the part of the country’s leaders.

When asked if she believes that come September, the US will once again use its veto against establishing a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, Shalev said that there can be no certainty in such an outcome. She commented that the reluctance manifested when the previous veto was given seems to indicate towards a negative outcome in the future, and needless to say, the Obama-led America of today drastically differs from the America under the Bush administration.

Regarding the Palestinian push for statehood, Shalev fears that the Palestinians will use an obscure resolution from the 1950s which states that if the UNSC cannot come to an agreement regarding the Palestinian question, it will be referred to the UN General Assembly whereby the latter can have the power to make “concrete recommendations for ‘collective measures’” – in other words, a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian State. Shalev emphasized that such a declaration would inevitably present an unprecedented obstacle to the peace process. 

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