Explanation of U.S. Vote on “Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”
Delivered by Charles O. Blaha
Human Rights Council 19th Session
Geneva, March 2012
The United States continues to be deeply troubled by this Council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel, as exemplified by the creation of yet another one-sided United Nations mechanism related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Steps like this do nothing to promote a just, lasting peace. Instead, they have the perverse outcome of pushing the parties further apart, while also inappropriately pre-judging final status issues that can only be resolved through direct negotiations. The only way to resolve this tragic and bitter conflict is a lasting peace with two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state’s people enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace. 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. The U.S. position on settlements is clear and has not changed: we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. The status quo is not sustainable for either the Israelis or the Palestinians.
In light of our overarching goals and the efforts we have devoted to peacemaking, we are deeply troubled to be presented with yet another biased, politicized, and one-sided resolution that launches an international investigation of Israel. This initiative is reminiscent of previous missions authorized by this Council, which failed to acknowledge that there are two sides in this conflict. As members of the Human Rights Council, we all share a responsibility to promote and protect human rights. Actions which help move the parties toward peace remain the surest way to protect the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis alike.
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. This Council should not complicate peace efforts through the creation of yet another divisive and biased fact finding mission. This mission will sap limited resources and time.
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 Jewish 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.