Unilateral Declaration/Premature Recognition of a Palestinian State

 Statements by world leaders


"There is the temptation of the Palestinian Authority to seek at the UN General Assembly that which it fails to obtain through negotiation. Only negotiation can lead to a definitive solution to the situation of Palestine."
President of France Francois Hollande, Joint Press Conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu,  October 2012

“I know it takes two to negotiate. So let me tell President Abbas something very clearly: there is no path to statehood except through talks with Israel. So if the Palestinian plan is simply posturing with the UN rather than negotiating with Israel, Britain will never support it.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Speech to the United Jewish Israel Appeal,  15 October 2012

“Unilateral actions, including initiatives to grant Palestinians non-member state observer status at the United Nations, would only jeopardize the peace process and complicate efforts to return the parties to direct negotiations. Any efforts to use international fora to prejudge final status issues that can only be resolved directly by the parties will neither improve the daily lives of Palestinians nor foster the trust essential to make progress towards a two-state solution.”
US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice, Address to the United Nations Security Council, 15 October 2012


“The European Union is advising the Palestinian Authority to ‘be careful’ regarding its stated plan to ask the UN for non-member state observer status at its General Assembly, Deputy Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas said Wednesday [10 Oct. 2012]…. ‘The EU is advising them to be careful, but the decision is theirs,’ he said. Asked what the Palestinians should be careful about, he replied ‘the possible negative consequences of their decision.’ ‘We are still fully behind the peace process, and we have not discovered any other better alternative,’ Kourkoulas said, hinting that such a move would have a negative impact on the process…. Asked…if the PA goes through with this move it would significantly damage the diplomatic process, Kourkoulas said ‘I think this is obvious.’”
Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas, Jerusalem Post Interview, 11 October 2012


"I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves…. But the question isn’t the goal that we seek – the question is how do we reach that goal. And I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades.

Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem. Ultimately, peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our speeches are over, long after our votes have been tallied. That’s the lesson of Northern Ireland, where ancient antagonists bridged their differences. That’s the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. And that is and will be the path to a Palestinian state – negotiations between the parties….

There are no shortcuts. And that is what the United Nations should be focused on in the weeks and months to come."
US President Barack Obama, Address to the United Nations General Assembly, 21 September 2011


"We need an environment that is conducive to direct negotiations. We all know that no matter what happens or doesn’t happen at the U.N., the next day is not going to result in the kind of changes that the United States wishes to see that would move us toward a two-state solution that we strongly support. The only way of getting a lasting solution is through direct negotiations between the parties, and the route to that lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah, not in New York … the issue is not simply that action in New York will not bring peace and stability, but it will create more distractions toward achieving that goal."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 13 September 2011

"Our view remains that neither course, neither the Security Council nor the General Assembly, is going to lead to the result that they seek, which is to have a stable, secure state living in peace, that they have to do this through negotiations," State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, 12 September 2011

"A final agreement has to be precisely final and that is why it must be reached by negotiation between the parties. Anything else will be a dangerous mirage for the Palestinians and for us."
Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, Henry Jackson Society Meeting at the British Parliament, 5 September 2011


"Mr Rosenthal also reaffirmed the Netherlands’ active commitment to a solution in which two states co-exist: the democratic, Jewish State of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, both of which fully respect minority rights. The minister said that he strongly opposes the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. ("What I am absolutely opposed to is the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.") At the same time he expects Israel to be realistic in the wake of the latest developments in the Arab region. ‘We have to hope that the two parties concerned recognise that a settlement really has to be reached now.’"
Netherlands Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal, De Volkskrant Interview, 11 June 2011.


"… Groups that seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their passengers. Established and efficient mechanisms exist to transfer humanitarian assistance to Gaza. For example, humanitarian assistance can be delivered at the Israeli port of Ashdod, where cargo can be offloaded, inspected, and transported to Gaza.

We urge all those seeking to provide such assistance to the people of Gaza to use these mechanisms, and not to participate in actions like the planned flotilla. Recent seizures by Israel and Egypt of advanced military systems, weapons, and ammunition bound for terrorist groups in Gaza, as well as periodic rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians, highlight the continuing problem of illicit arms smuggling to Gaza. These seizures underscore the vital importance to Israel’s security of ensuring that all cargo bound for Gaza is appropriately screened for illegal arms and dual-use materials…"
US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, Press Statement on "Gaza ‘Anniversary’ Flotilla", Washington DC, 24 June 2011


"I’d also like to make one thing very clear here: we oppose unilateral steps. We are convinced that unilateral steps – even against the backdrop of the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in September – would be counterproductive. Unilateral steps would only exacerbate the problems, would not bring us closer to peace, and would probably have the exact opposite effect. And thus I once again told my Israeli partners that the German government’s position on this matter is unambiguous. We want to see full fledged negotiations, not unilateral steps. We are in favor of a two-state solution – but one that is reached through negotiations and mutual understanding. Anything else would jeopardize the cause of peace; and in the final analysis we want to expand the scope of peace and security for Israel and all other States in the region."
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Joint press conference with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman,
Jerusalem, 15 June 2011


"The German government believes unilateral steps could be counter productive. We think negotiations are the right way."
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Statement to reporters, Ramallah, 14 June 2011.


"For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure.  Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection.  And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.”
US President Barack Obama, Remarks on the Middle East and North Africa, Washington DC, 19 May 2011.


"It is important that recognition contribute to real political progress and not do more harm than good. We are not there yet. I don’t believe that Denmark should act unilaterally on such an important issue. We must coordinate with the EU, with whom we are actively working for a negotiated two-state solution as the only stable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The EU has on several occasions made clear that we are ready to take the step of recognition at an appropriate time, though this must be based on an assessment of how recognition may contribute to negotiations and the two-state solution."
Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen, Berlingske Interview, 19 May 2011.


"No, absolutely not… I think that there is no other course other than an agreement between the two states. Our policy has always gone in this direction, and it is also the policy of the European Union."
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, when asked whether Italy would recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, Remarks to reporters at Israel’s Independence Day Celebrations, Rome, 11 May 2011


"We do not think that unilateral steps are helpful… Given the very changed situation across the entire North African region, I think a peaceful solution is even more urgent … than it has been for a long time."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Berlin, 5 May 2011.


Recognition by some countries of a Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood "does not do any good whatsoever." Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal, Interview with the Jerusalem Post, Israel, 8 February 2011.


"… That the House of Representatives – (1) reaffirms its strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states, a democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition; (2) reaffirms its strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians…. “
The US House of Representative, House Resolution 1765, Washington DC, 15 December 2010