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Human Rights Council 11th Session – Item 7 General Debate
June 15, 2009

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Geneva, June 15, 2009

Thank you, Madame Vice-President.

In his speech in Cairo, the President of the United States said a truth we all know: too many tears have flowed and too much blood has been shed in the Arab-Israeli conflict. He also cautioned that if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

Peaceful resolution of the conflict is in Israel’s interest, the Palestinians’ interest, the region’s interest and the world’s interest. It is time for all of us to live up to our responsibilities. America will align its policies with those who pursue a comprehensive peace among Israel and all its neighbors that respects Israel’s rightful place in the community of nations. We say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and others: All parties must live up to their obligations and responsibilities to each other and as members of the international community.

This Council must also live up to its responsibilities. As one of the few international fora on human rights, it must remain balanced and objective, including on issues relating to the Middle East. As we have stated before, the Council should not apply its procedures in a discriminatory manner, nor pass unbalanced, inaccurate, or politicized resolutions that focus unconstructively on one issue at the cost of ignoring others around the world.

It should be all of our roles to help the parties move forward in pursuit of peace. The United States strongly encourages the Council to seek constructive means for addressing the challenges faced within the region and we thank those delegations that seek to ensure that this Council’s work is supportive of genuine efforts at peace. We encourage the Council to focus on assisting the Palestinian Authority in developing its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. We discourage this Council from using the Arab-Israeli conflict to distract people from other urgent and pressing problems around the world. As we look forward to taking a seat on this Council, we hope that we will be joining a Council that can be responsible, balanced and objective and contribute to the aspirations for peace.

Thank you.