Rice at U.N. echoes Obama on Palestinians’ unilateral statehood bid


WASHINGTON (JTA) – Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reiterated President Obama’s comments to the world body on unilateral Palestinian efforts toward statehood jeopardizing the peace process.

"Unilateral actions, including initiatives to grant Palestinians non-member state observer status at the United Nations, would only jeopardize the peace process and complicate efforts to return the parties to direct negotiations," Rice said in remarks Monday at the U.N. Security Council’s Open Debate on the Middle East, citing Obama’s comments to the U.N. General Assembly last month.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said last month that he would seek an upgrade in status at the U.N. that was something less than full statehood but would delineate state borders. Palestine now has a permanent observer mission.  

Rice also said that any unilateral effort toward full Palestinian statehood “will neither improve the daily lives of Palestinians nor foster the trust essential to make progress towards a two-state solution.”

Also at the open debate, Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, said that “The Palestinians’ unilateral actions are a clear breach of every agreement that they have signed with Israel, including the Oslo Accords, the Interim Agreement and the Paris Protocol.”

Prosor asked U.N. members, “Would you make painful sacrifices — would you give up tangibles — in exchange for pieces of paper that the other side has proven more than willing to throw in the garbage?”

Abbas’ request is expected to be debated in mid-November, according to Reuters.

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