Why Won't the Palestinians Say Yes to Peace?
The UN commemorated Palestinian Solidarity Day by passing anti-Israel resolutions. Israaael's Ambassador Danny Danon compares the murder of innocent Israelis to the massacre of innocents in France.
Address by Ambassador Danny Danon, United Nations General Assembly, November 23, 2015
forty years ago, Israel's Ambassador, Chaim Herzog, stood here at this very podium, and stood up for truth
and for high principle at the lowest point in the history of the United Nations. He courageously denounced the
shameful attempt to define the national aspirations of the Jewish people for a home as a form of racism
, the very evil that Jews in countries around the world have suffered from for centuries. As I stand here before you today, that infamous decision has been
repealed, but an endless number of biased and backward measures have taken its place.
Over the years, this Assembly has passed countless one-sided resolutions blaming Israel for any and all problems confronting the Palestinians. It is unfortunate that the 70th session has joined the pitiful UN tradition of passing more than twenty empty anti-Israel resolutions, which deepen the conflict, distance us from real dialogue, and diminish the prospects of peace.
We do not need these resolutions, because we already had the resolution we needed.
Before all the endless documents and declarations, this Assembly adopted a resolution to partition the British Mandate into a Jewish state, and an Arab state . We accepted, and established a state for the sake of self-determination, the Arabs rejected it and launched a war.
Despite all the years of distortion and disinformation, there is one simple truth about the root cause of the conflict that remains clear and unimpeachable. If the Arab states and the Arabs of mandatory Palestine had accepted the existence, the very existence, of a Jewish state, Israelis and Palestinians would have been spared decades of needless conflict, of unnecessary pain and suffering, and of the devastating loss of life on both sides.
But instead of saying yes to living side by side with Israel in peace, the Palestinians said no—no to peace, and no to the existence of a Jewish state. The echoes of that 'no' continue to this very day.
Mr. President, the resolutions before this Assembly deliberately ignore the root cause of the conflict— the unwillingness of the Palestinians—even today, even now—to accept a Jewish state in any part of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
As we are here today to debate the "Question of Palestine," let me ask this Chamber: Why did the Palestinians reject peace offers which would have granted them a state—not once, not twice, but three times? Three times. Why did they launch violent waves of terror every time they had the opportunity for statehood?
After Israel signed the Oslo accords and recognized the PLO, shooting, stabbings, and suicide bombing took the lives of nearly three hundred Israelis. Following Arafat's rejection of a state for the Palestinians at the Camp David Summit in the year 2000, the Palestinian leadership ignited a five year intifada in which more than one thousand Israelis were killed. Since Israel withdrew all, all of its security forces and evacuated all Israeli communities from Gaza in 2005, more than eleven thousand rockets have rained down on Israeli cities.
Let's stop avoiding the real, pressing question of Palestine, and ask ourselves:
If the Palestinian leaders really want peace, why do they refuse to sit in the same room with the Israeli Prime Minister? To sit down and to negotiate?
If the Palestinian leaders truly want a home for the Palestinian people, why do they reject the very idea of a home for the Jewish people?
If the Palestinian leaders are concerned for the protection of their own people, why do they encourage and incite them to terror and violence?
Mr. President, looking for answers to any of these questions in the resolutions being discussed here today is harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Instead, it is business as usual at the UN—hollow decisions and empty gestures.
Let no one be fooled. No amount of biased resolutions and empty symbols will bring the change that the people of the region so desperately need. You can raise a Palestinian flag here in the UN, but as long as the Palestinians fail to raise a generation committed to peace and reconciliation, there will be no end to violence. As long as those in this chamber do not demand that Palestinian leaders make the difficult decisions needed for peace, no rhetoric will improve the lives of the Palestinian people.
Mr. President, since September, Israelis have experienced a wave of terror. Innocent Israeli men, women, and children have been brutally stabbed in the streets, and intentionally run over at bus stops day in and day out—all for the crime of being Jews living in Israel.
Here, in front of this Assembly, I would like to read out the names of those innocent victims of terror murdered in cold blood:
Avraham Asher Hasno
Netanel Litman - his son
Shadi Arafa - a Palestinian
Look at the faces of the innocent victims of Palestinian terror. (Editor: Danon shows a composite photo of the murdered terror victims.)
This is a shameful day for the UN. Instead of issuing a clear and categorical statement denouncing all acts of terror, this institution has granted legitimacy to Palestinian terror. The heinous murder of innocent Israelis, just because they are Israelis, is no different than the cruel massacre of innocents in France.
Terror is terror is terror, and it must be fought against, not justified. Terror has no borders and we must fight it wherever we find it, whether it is Hamas in Gaza, Palestinian terror in the streets of Israel, or ISIS attacks in the streets of Europe.
These terrorist attacks and killings are a direct result of incitement. Palestinian officials continue to use inflammatory rhetoric and dangerous incitement, intensifying this wave of terror against Israeli civilians.
If the UN wants to play a constructive role, it must get a grip on reality, and hold the Palestinians accountable. Demand that the Palestinians leaders cease their incitement to violence. Insist that President Abbas finally, finally respond to Prime Minister Netanyahu's repeated calls to negotiate. And make it clear that peace will only come once the Palestinians accept that Israel is the home of the Jewish people.
Mr. President, this Assembly may have repealed the disgraceful resolution that equates Zionism with racism. However, 40 years later, many in this institution still display hatred and hostility toward Israel. The credibility of this institution depends on its integrity, and its impartiality. The bashing of Israel here at the UN undermines the very values and ideals this institution was intended to uphold.
If you really want to understand how unique Israel is in the region, all you need to do is ask yourself: If you are a woman or if you are gay, if you are Jewish, or Muslim or Christian, hoping to practice your faith openly and proudly with no fear - is there anywhere else in the region, in the Middle East, from Khartoum to Kabul, or from Tunis to Tehran, where you would rather live and practice your religion?
This is the Israel that I know, and this is the Israel that I am proud to represent today.
Mr. President, we look forward to the day when the Palestinians finally recognize the right of the Jewish people to a State in Israel. We look forward to the moment that Palestinian leaders follow the path of President Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, who bravely grasped Israel's extended hand for peace.
Their example is testament to the fact that peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations.
We look forward to a time when the Palestinians focus on building their own institutions, instead of attacking Israel in this institution.
When that day comes, the Palestinians will find a partner for peace.