An official website of the United States government

U.S. Statement on Item 7 at 7th Session of the Human Rights Council
March 6, 2008

Human Rights Council 7th Session
U.S. Statement on Item 7

Delivered by Ambassador Warren W. Tichenor
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva

Thank you, Mr. President.

President Bush and Secretary Rice have pledged the unwavering commitment of the United States Government to work with Israel and the Palestinians to reach their goal of a peace agreement in 2008 to realize the vision of two democratic states living side by side in peace.

The United States recognizes Israel’s need to defend itself. At the same time, the United States is concerned about the recent violence and regrets any and all loss of any innocent life in both Israel and Gaza alike as a result of the escalation of violence. The violence must end. We urgently call on all parties to fully respect their obligations under international law and reiterate our concern about the very serious humanitarian situation in Gaza and southern Israel so that people can receive needed humanitarian supplies.

The rocket attacks against Israeli citizens must stop, as the terrorist attacks that intentionally target civilians can never be justified. As President Bush has said, no agreement and no Palestinian state will be born of terror.

The way forward is not through violence but through peaceful negotiations which we are pleased to note will soon be resumed. It is important that both sides, as well as the international community, refrain from exacerbating tensions through unhelpful rhetoric and unbalanced actions. The Human Rights Council’s unbalanced and excessive focus on Israel does not advance the cause of peace. One more unbalanced resolution, with problematic factual and legal assertions, will only further obstruct the dialogue that needs to take place for peace to be attained.

In an effort to realize the vision and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian and Israeli people of two states living side by side in peace and security, the U.S. is engaged in working to support progress on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, on Palestinian economic development and institutional capacity building, on implementation of the Roadmap to build confidence and improve conditions on the ground, and on regional support for the process.

It has long been the consensus of the international community that a Palestinian state can only be achieved through negotiations between the parties. We encourage Israel and the Palestinians to remain committed to the negotiations process. Now is the time to realize the vision of two democratic states living side by side in peace.

The United States is committed to and ready to help the parties through diplomacy to achieve peace.

Thank you, Mr. President.