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Explanation of U.S. Vote on HRC Resolutions Related to Israel and Occupied Territories
March 25, 2011

Explanation of U.S. Vote on Human Rights Council Resolutions Related to Israel and the Occupied Territories [1]

Delivered by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe

Human Rights Council 16th Session
Geneva, March 25, 2011

The United States is deeply concerned about the human suffering of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.  The only way to resolve this tragic and bitter conflict is through serious and substantive negotiations between the parties to produce two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. We should all be working to advance the cause of peace – not to hinder it.

We remain committed to achieving a real, lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis, a goal that requires both parties to take meaningful steps.  Israel must take steps to end settlement activity by upholding commitments it has made.  The U.S. position here has not changed: we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.  Israel should stop settlement activity and dismantle outposts, according to its Road Map obligations.  Israel should further ease access and movement, and facilitate economic growth in the West Bank.  We appreciate the steps the Israeli government has taken to improve the difficult humanitarian situation of the people of Gaza, and we continue to urge them to take further action. The Palestinians have obligations of their own: continuing efforts on security, reforming governance institutions, and ending incitement. The status quo is not sustainable for either Israelis or Palestinians.

In light of our overarching goals and the efforts we have devoted to peacemaking, we are deeply troubled to once again be presented with a slate of resolutions replete with controversial elements and one-sided references that fail to address the real challenges of the region.  As members of the Human Rights Council, we all share a responsibility to promote and protect human rights; it should also be our role to help move the parties to peace, which remains the surest way to protect the rights of Palestinians and Israelis alike.  The United States works continuously to support social and economic development in the Palestinian territories, as well as the legitimate political aspirations of the Palestinian people, as we support President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad’s important efforts to lay the foundation for a responsible, contiguous, and viable Palestinian state. To this end, we continue to provide substantial financial and technical support to the Palestinian Authority and assistance directly to the Palestinian people.  The United States is the largest single country donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which provides critical humanitarian services to Palestinian refugees. The United States also supports programs designed to promote democracy and human rights in the Palestinian territories.

Peaceful resolution of the conflict is in Israel’s interest, the Palestinians’ interest, the region’s interest, and the world’s interest.  It is also in the United States’ interest. It should be this Council’s role to support and encourage peace talks between the two parties, not complicate them through divisive and biased resolutions.  We believe that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state with the Israeli goal of a secure state.  Our commitment to achieving a solution with two states living side-by-side in peace and security will not waver.

For these reasons, we call for a vote on this resolution, and we urge our fellow Members to join us in voting no.

[1] This statement was applied for three resolutions: The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination;

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem , and in the occupied Syrian Golan, Human rights violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem