"Peace will come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at the negotiating table."
Those are the words of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power on December 30, 2014, explaining the United States’ vote against a "deeply imbalanced" and "unconstructive"
Security Council resolution imposing a timeframe and parameters
on borders for Palestinian statehood.
The United States was absolutely correct to vote against this
"staged confrontation" and to veto a previous version. And it
remains as important today as it was three months ago for the
United States to stand alongside Israel against unhelpful
efforts to unilaterally impose conditions for a future
That is why news reports that the president may be lifting U.S. protection of Israel at the UN, regarding a new, misguided Security Council resolution that would set a binding timeframe in which to define the parameters of a two-state solution, are so disturbing.
"This resolution sets the stage for more division — not for compromise. It could well serve to provoke the very confrontation it purports to address," Power stated just three months ago. "It would undermine efforts to get back to an atmosphere that makes it possible to achieve two states for two peoples."
Supporting or remaining agnostic on such a resolution would violate the letter and spirit of the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, which endorsed the seminal construct of Land for Peace.
The premise that Israel would withdraw from the Gaza Strip and West Bank in exchange for peace and security has been the basis
for all negotiations since that time.
Throughout the terms of four U.S. presidents and six Israeli prime ministers, that was the guiding principle of prolonged, intense, and tireless efforts to achieve resolution of tough and intractable issues through direct negotiations.
Yet at critical times — Wye River, Camp David, Taba, Annapolis —
when the moment of truth came and after Israel had made ground- breaking concessions at the urging of the United States and others, the Palestinians walked away from a deal.
By taking "no account of Israel's legitimate security concerns" (again, as stated by Ambassador Power), misguided efforts within
international organizations to impose conditions for statehood remove half of the Land for Peace equation: peace. Such efforts reward Palestinian intransigence and ignore history.
Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 was followed not by peace, but by Hezbollah seizing power, which they used to launch cross-border assaults against Israel, killing and capturing soldiers and resulting in the 2006 Lebanon War.
Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 was followed not by security, but by Hamas takeover and indiscriminate rocket attacks on civilian targets across southern Israel, necessitating three defensive operations: Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense, and Operation Protective Edge.
For the international community to impose a timetable and borders for a future Palestinian state, with no guarantee of Israel's legitimate security concerns, would be an enormous and unthinkable risk. A weakened and unpopular Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas makes the West Bank ripe for takeover by Hamas or another terrorist group. This leaves Israel sharing a border not with a stable Jordan, but with a West Bank staging ground for attacks against Jerusalem and other civilian areas.
Israel cannot survive under these conditions. It is an invitation to war and a recipe for disaster.
If a Palestinian state were to be established by UN fiat, in violation of the Oslo accords, with no assurance of peace or security for Israel, normalization would not be achieved. The United States must continue to stand firmly with its ally Israel in opposing this ill-conceived and dangerous proposed UN resolution.
Rep. Nita Lowey, who represents New York's 17th Congressional District, is the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.