Unilateral Declaration/Premature Recognition of a Palestinian State
"Three months ago, Israel’s Prime Minister stood in this very hall and extended his hand in peace to President Abbas. He reiterated that his goal was to create a solution of two-states for two-peoples – where a demilitarized Palestinian state will recognize Israel as a Jewish state….
This resolution cannot serve as an acceptable terms of reference for peace negotiations with Israel. Because this resolution says nothing about Israel’s security needs. It does not call on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. It does not demand an end of conflict and a termination of all claims….
Let me tell you what this resolution does do. This resolution violates a fundamental binding commitment. This is a commitment that many of the states here today were themselves witness to. It was a commitment that all outstanding issues in the peace process would only be resolved in direct negotiations. This resolution sends a message that the international community is willing to turn a blind eye to peace agreements. For the people of Israel, it raises a simple question: why continue to make painful sacrifices for peace, in exchange for pieces of paper that the other side will not honor? It will make a negotiated peace settlement less likely, as Palestinians continue to harden their positions and place further obstacles and preconditions to negotiations and peace. And unfortunately, it will raise expectations that cannot be met, which has always proven to be a recipe for conflict and instability.
There is only one route to Palestinian statehood. And that route does not run through this chamber in New York. That route runs through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah that will lead to a secure and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. There are no shortcuts. No quick fixes. No instant solutions. As President Obama said in 2010, ‘Peace cannot be imposed from the outside.’"
Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ron Prosor, Address to the UN General Assembly, 29 November 2012
"Israel is prepared to live in peace with a Palestinian state, but for peace to endure, Israel’s security must be protected. The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state and they must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all.
None of these vital interests, these vital interests of peace, none of them appear in the resolution that will be put forward before the General Assembly today and that is why Israel cannot accept it. The only way to achieve peace is through agreements that are reached by the parties directly; through valid negotiations between themselves, and not through UN resolutions that completely ignore Israel’s vital security and national interests And because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backwards.
As for the rights of the Jewish people in this land, I have a simple message for those people gathered in the General Assembly today: No decision by the UN can break the 4000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Statement at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, 29 November 2012
“Instead of sitting with Israel in direct negotiations, the Palestinian leadership is pursuing the path of unilateralism at the UN…. Peace must be negotiated. It cannot be imposed from the outside.”
“The Palestinian’s unilateral actions are a clear breach of every agreement that they have signed with Israel, including the Oslo Accords, the Interim Agreement, and the Paris Protocol…. I know that some in this hall think that the Palestinians can breach these agreements with no consequences. Some of you think that afterwards we will be able to go back to business as usual. Well, you are mistaken…. How can Israel be expected to abide by the same agreements that the Palestinian leadership ignores whenever it is convenient?… Would you make painful sacrifices – would you give up tangibles – in exchange for pieces of paper that the other side has proven more than willing to throw into the garbage?”
“Symbolic declarations will change nothing on the ground. They will only raise expectations that cannot be met. This is a recipe for instability and, potentially, violence…. You will not be planting the seeds of peace, but fanning the flames of conflict…. You will be responsible for affixing a seal of approval onto an entity that does not meet the most basic requirements for statehood. Make no mistake. We in Israel, hope that the day will come when they meet those requirements. But let me be clear: today the Palestinians are a long, long way from meeting the basic criteria for statehood.”
Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ron Prosor, Address to the UN Security Council, 15 October 2012
"The UN is not a place where Israel wins praise, but I think that it is important that I go there in order to represent both the State of Israel and the truth – and the truth is that Israel wants peace and the truth is that the Palestinians are doing everything to torpedo direct peace negotiations. They have ignored every proposal that I have made, both in my 14 June 2009 Bar-Ilan speech and in my 24 May 2011 speech to the US Congress. They have avoided coming to direct negotiations after this Government made an unprecedented decision to freeze new construction in the communities. For ten months, they simply were unwilling to come and negotiate. They need to understand that, despite their current attempt to again overturn the negotiations by going to the UN, peace will be achieved only through direct negotiations….
My UN trip will have a double goal. The first goal is to ensure that this move to bypass negotiations does not succeed and is stopped in the Security Council. I think that this is, to a great extent, an achievable objective. The second goal is to address the General Assembly and present our truth and – in my opinion – the general truth, which is our desire for peace. The fact that we are not foreigners in this country, that we have rights in this country that go ‘only’ 4,000 years, I will say this loud and clear. I will also speak about our intention to achieve peace with our neighbors while ensuring our security."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting, 18 September 2011
"It would be unfortunate to arrive at a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinians at the U.N. that could lead to a stalemate between the sides especially when a peace agreement can be achieved through direct negotiations. The gaps are not that wide… The contribution of the Quartet and the European Union will be significant if they can lead the parties back to the negotiating table and enable them to conduct direct negotiations."
President Shimon Peres, Working meeting with the Prime Minister of Belgium Leterme, 4 September 2011
"I passed something else which I believe most of you agree with, that peace can only be obtained through negotiations and not by a unilateral UN resolution, and I appreciate the definite stance of President Obama and Chancellor Merkel and also of the German Foreign Minister with whom I spoke yesterday, and heads of states in Europe and others outside of Europe. By the way, I also heard it from the Speaker of the European Parliament with whom I spoke last night. I intend to speak to other leaders about this in the near future." [Translation from Hebrew]
Prime Minister Netanyahu, 40 Signatures Speech at the Knesset, Jerusalem, 15 June 2011
"Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end. I appreciate the President’s [Obama] clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speech to a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress, Washington DC, 24 May 2011
"Regarding our relations with the Palestinians and unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, I think it will destroy everything that we have up until today. It’s very easy to ruin everything that we have accomplished. It would be very difficult to restore these ruined relations later on. I think this kind of unilateral recognition in the Security Council or General Assembly in the UN would really be a very bad decision, with a lot of damage done to our relations with the Palestinians and to the situation in the region… As you remember, according to the Oslo Accords, establishing an independent Palestinian state must come only as a result of talks between both sides and not as unilateral recognition by some international institution."
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Joint press conference with Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, Jerusalem, 4 April 2011
"Only a negotiated solution that is supported by all levels of Israeli and Palestinian society has the chance to succeed and flourish. Without these vital elements, those who seek only repression and radicalism will step into the breach. Recent events in our region have taught us that."
Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon, "Make peace between peoples", San Francisco Chronicle, 30 March 2011
"Disagreements can only be resolved through direct negotiations, and not unilateral steps."
PM Netanyahu, Knesset speech, 2 February 2011