Transcript: Speech by Israeli Representative Ron Prosor on Palestine’s application for non-member observer status at the United Nations

Transcribed & edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of remarks by Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the U.N., on Palestine’s application for non-member observer status at the United Nations General Assembly on Nov. 29, 2012:

Mr. President. Today I stand before you tall and proud because I represent the world’s one and only Jewish state – a state built in the Jewish people’s ancient homeland with its eternal capitol Jerusalem as its beating heart.

We’re a nation with deep roots in the past and bright hopes for the future. We’re a nation that values idealism but acts with pragmatism.

Israel is a nation that never hesitates to defend itself but would always, always extend its hand for peace. This is a central value of Israel’s society. The Bible calls on us and says [untranslatable audio]…”Seek peace and pursue it.”

Peace fills our heart and poetry. It is taught in our schools as being the goal of the Israeli people and every Israeli leader since Israel was re-established 64 years ago. Israel’s declaration of independence states and I quote, “We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their people in an offer of peace and good neighborness and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help.”

Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, on the resolution conferring non-member state observer status to Palestine at the General Assembly on Nov. 29, 2012. SOURCE:

This week was the 31st anniversary of President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem. In a speech just before the visit, President Sadat famously stood in the Egyptian Parliament in Cairo and stated that he would go, and I quote, “to the ends of the Earth to make peace with Israel.”

Israel’s Prime Minister at that time, Menachem Begin, welcomed President Sadat to Israel and paved the way for peace.

This morning, Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, stood at Menachem Begin Center and said this about the resolution that you’re about to vote on.

He said 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 and not through the U.N. 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 plan, I have a simple message for those people gathered in the General Assembly today: No decision by the U.N. can break the 4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.

Mr. President, the people of Israel wait for Palestinian leader that is willing to follow the path of President Sadat. The world awaits for President Abbas to speak the truth about peace that can only be achieved through negotiations by recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. It waits for him to tell them that peace must also address Israel’s security needs and end the conflict once and for all.

For as long as President Abbas prefers symbolism over reality, as long as he prefers to travel to New York for U.N. resolutions rather than travel to Jerusalem for genuine dialogue, any hope of peace will be out of reach.

Mr. President, Israel has always extended its hand in peace and would always extend its hand for peace. When we face an Arab leader who wanted peace, we made peace. That was the case with Egypt and that was the case with Jordan.

Time and again, we’ve sought peace with the Palestinians. Time and again, we’ve been met by rejections of our office, denial of our rights, and terrorism targeting our citizens.

President Abbas described today’s proceeding as historic. But the only thing historic about his speech is how much it ignored history.

The truth? The truth is that 65 years ago today, the United Nations voted to partition the British mandate to two states: A Jewish state and an Arab state. Two states for two people. Israel accepted this plan. The Palestinians and the Arab Nations around us rejected it and launched a war of annihilation to throw the Jews into the sea.

The truth is that from 1948 through 1967, the West Bank was ruled by Jordan and Gaza was ruled by Egypt. The Arab states did not lift a finger to create a Palestinian state. Instead, they sought Israel’s destruction and were joined by newly-formed Palestinian terrorist organizations.

The truth is that at Camp David in 2000 and again in Annapolis in 2008, Israeli leaders made far-reaching offers for peace. Those offers were met by rejection, evasion, and even terrorism.

The truth is that to advance peace in 2005, Israel dismantled entire communities and uprooted thousands of people from the homes in the Gaza Strip.

And rather than use this opportunity to build for a peaceful future, the Palestinians turned Gaza into an Iranian terror base from which thousands of rockets were fired into Israeli cities.

[Incomprehensible audio]…Just last week, the area has been turned into a launching pad for rockets into Israeli cities, a haven for global terrorists, and an ammunition dump for Iranian weapons.

Time after time, the Palestinian leadership refuse to accept responsibility. They refuse to make the tough decisions for peace.

Israel remains committed for peace. But we will not establish another Iranian terror base in the heart of our country.

We need a peace that will endure – a peace that will secure the future of Israel.

Three months ago, Israel’s Prime Minister stood in this very hall at this very podium and extended his hand to peace to President Abbas. He reiterated that his goal was to create a solution for two states, for two people, with a de-militarized Palestinian state would recognize Israel as a Jewish state. That’s right – Jewish state – for two people.

In fact, President Abbas, I did not hear you say two states for two people this afternoon. In fact, I’ve never heard you say that phrase “two states for two people” because the Palestinian leadership has never recognized that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. They’ve never been willing to accept what this very, very body recognized 65 years ago: Israel is the Jewish state.

In fact, today, you asked the world to recognize the Palestinian state but you still refuse to recognize the Jewish state.

Not only do you not recognize the Jewish state, you also tried to erase Jewish history. This year you even tried to erase the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. You said that Jews were trying to alter the historical character of Jerusalem. You said we were trying to Jewerize Jersusalem.

President Abbas, the truth is Jerusalem has a Jewish character long before most cities in the world had any character. 3,000 years ago, King David ruled from Jerusalem and Jews have lived in Jerusalem ever since.

President Abbas, instead of revising history, it is time that you started making history by making peace with Israel.

Mr. President, this resolution will not advance peace. This resolution will not change the situation on the ground. It will not change the fact that the Palestinian Authority has no control over Gaza and that is 40% of the territory they claim to represent.

President Abbas, you can’t even visit nearly half the territory of the state you claim to represent. That territory is controlled by Hamas – an internationally-recognized terrorist organization that rains missiles on Israeli civilians. This is the same Hamas that fired more than 1,300 rockets into the heart of Israel’s major cities this month.

This resolution will not confer statehood on the Palestinian Authority, which clearly fails to meet the criteria for statehood.

This resolution will not enable the Palestinian Authority to join international treaties or organization or conferences as a state.

This resolution cannot serve as an acceptable term of reference for peace negotiations with Israel because this resolution says nothing about Israel’s security. It does not call on the Palestinian to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and it does not demand an end to the conflict and a termination of all players.

Let me tell you what this resolution does do. This resolution violates fundamental, binding commitments. This is a commitment that many of the states here today, gathered in this chamber, were themselves witnessed to. It was a commitment that all outstanding issues in the peace process would only be resolved in direct negotiations.

The 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 pre-conditions to negotiations and to peace.

And unfortunately, it will raise expectations that cannot be met, which is always, always proven to be the recipe for conflict and instability.

There’s 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.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are no short cuts, no quick fixes, no instant solutions.

As President Obama said in 2010, “Peace cannot be imposed from the outside.”

The real message of this resolution for the people of Israel is that the international community will turn a blind eye to violations of these agreements by the Palestinians.

Mr. President. In submitting this resolution, the Palestinian leadership is once again making the wrong choice.

65 years ago, Palestinians could have chosen to live side by side with the Jewish state of Israel. 65 years ago, they could have chosen to accept the solution of two states for two people. They rejected it then, and they are rejecting it again today.

The international community should not encourage this rejection. It should not encourage the Palestinian leadership to drive forward recklessly with both feet resting down on the gas, no hands on the wheel, and no eyes on the road.

Instead, it should encourage the Palestinians to enter into direct negotiations without pre-conditions in order to achieve a historic peace in which a de-militarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state.

Mr. President. Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it. Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is.”

The truth is that Israel wants peace and the Palestinians are avoiding peace.

Those who are supporting the resolution today are not advancing peace; they are undermining peace.

The U.N. was founded to advance the cause of peace. Today, the Palestinians are turning the back on peace. Don’t let history record that today the U.N. has been along on the march of folly.


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