President Obama told the United Nations General Assembly this morning that as far as the United States was concerned statehood for Palestinians and peace with Israel can only be achieved through talks with the Jewish state. He also called on the UN to back off and allow Israelis and Palestinians and Israelis to work matters out themselves, saying “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians-not us-who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.”
Palestinians are expected to bid for statehood Friday with a written request to the UN Secretary-General. He will approve the request and send it to the Security Council for a vote. The United States has decided to veto a result endorsing Palestinian statehood. The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, echoing President Obama’s remarks, said “There is no shortcut to statehood.” and called the Palestinian bid “an unwise and diversionary gambit”.
While supporters of Israel and advocates for peace welcomed these developments and remarks they didn’t go far enough because they failed to address the biggest impediments to Palestinian statehood and peace there are, impediments which must be overcome and removed if Palestinian statehood and peace are to be achieved. Those impediments are the absolute, unequivocal refusal by the Palestinians to recognize and accept the legitimacy of Israel in the first place and her character as a Jewish state in the second and Palestinian’s absolute, unequivocal refusal to guarantee security for Israelis and Israel…to stop constantly trying to murder, maim and terrorize Israelis and remove Israel from the face of the earth. Palestinian statehood and peace will simply not occur if those things do not happen and the onus is entirely on the Palestinians to bring them about.
President Obama should have told the Palestinians that too and should also have said that the United States would no longer countenance and support their behaviour and would therefore no longer be sending them any funds, would stop sending them vast amounts of money for no return. That may have an impact. Nothing else will, veto or no veto or whether Palestinians are persuaded to withdraw their bid for statehood or not. Israel isn’t the problem and isn’t preventing anything. Palestinians are the problem and hitting them hard in their wallets might help them realize it. Besides, there is no moral or financial case which can be made for funding their behaviour anyway.
Come on President Obama, put your money where your mouth is.