The United States warned Thursday that a UN vote granting Palestine observer state status would create “obstacles” to peace between the Palestinians and Washington’s close ally Israel.
“Today’s unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path to peace,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, told the UN General Assembly after the historic vote.
Speaking separately in Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, used exactly the same language to denounce a decision that she said “places further obstacles in the path to peace.”
The United States and Israel were among just nine countries bucking global support for a resolution giving Palestine non-member status at the United Nations, both arguing that the path to statehood should pass through direct peace talks.
Rice dismissed the importance of the historic, if largely symbolic UN vote.
“Today’s grand announcements will soon fade and the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow to find little of their lives has changed, save (that) the prospects of a durable peace have receded,” she said.
“This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state,” she said, echoing an earlier speech by the ambassador to Israel. “Today’s vote should not be misconstrued by any as constituting eligibility for UN membership.”
Rice said that “only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and the Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve.”
“The backers of today’s resolution say they seek a functioning, independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel. So do we,” she insisted.
“But we have long been clear that the only way to establish such a Palestinian state and resolve all permanent-status issues is through the crucial, if painful, work of direct negotiations between the parties.
“The United States therefore calls upon both the parties to resume direct talks without preconditions on all the issues that divide them.
“The United States will continue to urge all parties to avoid any further provocative actions — in the region, in New York, or elsewhere.
“We will continue to oppose firmly any and all unilateral actions in international bodies or treaties that circumvent or prejudge the very outcomes that can only be negotiated, including Palestinian statehood.
“And, we will continue to stand up to every effort that seeks to delegitimize Israel or undermine its security,” she added.
“The recent conflict in Gaza is just the latest reminder that the absence of peace risks the presence of war,” she warned.
“We urge those who share our hopes for peace between a sovereign Palestine and a secure Israel to join us in supporting negotiations, not encouraging further distractions. There simply are no short cuts.”