Israel's UN Envoy Speech on Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Israel's UN envoy raises Jewish refugee issue at UN 'Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People'
02 December 2011
At an event at the United Nations on the 64th anniversary of the vote to partition Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state, (International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People), Israel’s Ambassador Ron Prosor told the UN General Assembly that it exacerbated rather than resolved the Middle East conflict with such commemorations.

“It takes a well of truth to water the seeds of peace. Yet we continue to witness a drought of candor in this body’s discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On this historic day, real facts in the General Assembly remain few and far between.”

The presentations at the UN “in solidarity with the Palestinian people,” Prosor said, presented “a distorted and impartial version of history. It transforms the cause of Palestinian self-determination into a deliberate attempt to denigrate, defame and delegitimize the State of Israel.” The ambassador recounted the history of the establishment of the State of Israel, not as a calamity but rather as a people being restored to its ancient homeland. In response, the Arab nations declared war on the Jewish state, he said.

“One percent of Israel’s population died in combat during this assault by five armies [in 1948]. Think about that price,” Prosor said. “It would be the equivalent of 850,000 soldiers dying in France today, or 3 million soldiers dying in the United States, or 13 million soldiers dying in China.” While many Arabs became refugees as a result of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948/49, Prosor said, so did Jews – and the difference between the two nations being the fact that Jewish refugees were absorbed into Israeli society, while Palestinian refugees were not. "We unlocked our new immigrants’ vast potential. The Arab world knowingly and intentionally kept their Palestinian populations in the second class status of permanent refugees," Israel's envoy added.

Prosor highlights plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries

Referring to the ongoing discrimination against Palestinians in various Arab nations, Prosor declared: “In the vast majority of Arab countries, Palestinians have no rights of citizenship. It is no coincidence that the Arab world’s responsibilities for the ‘inalienable rights’ of these Palestinians never appear in the resolutions before you.”

Prosor said the basic question underlying the conflict for 64 years had not changed: “That question is: Has the Arab world – and particularly the Palestinians – internalized that Israel is here to stay and will remain the nation-state of the Jewish people? It is still unclear whether they are inspired by the promise of building a new state, or the goal of destroying an existing one.”

Prosor noted that during Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the General Assembly in September, Abbas deliberately refrained from mentioning any historic link between Israel and the Jewish people. “This was not an oversight. It was not a slip of the tongue. It was yet another deliberate attempt to deny more than 3,000 years of Jewish history.”

Unlike UN resolution 181 of 1947, Palestinian leaders had never used the term “the Jewish state” to describe Israel, said Prosor, calling the Palestinian demand for a ‘right of return’ of refugees “a non-starter.” He continued: "The idea that Israel will be flooded with millions of Palestinians is a nonstarter. The international community knows it. The Palestinian leadership knows it. But the Palestinian people aren’t hearing it,” the ambassador pointed out. “At this very moment, the gap between their perception and reality remains the major obstacle to peace.” He ended his speech by calling on the General Assembly to "finally glean truth from this historic day, nourishing the seeds of peace in our region that can blossom into a brighter future."

Several anti-Israel resolutions adopeted by General Assembly

On 29 November 1947, the UN Partition Plan for Palestine was adopted by the General Assembly (picture). The plan replaced the British Mandate for Palestine with "Independent Arab and Jewish States" and a "Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem" administered by the United Nations. The proposed plan was accepted by the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine (the Yishuv), through the Jewish Agency, but rejected by the Palestinian leaders who were supported in their rejection by the states of the Arab League, who immediately declared war on the State of Israel once it had its independence in May 1948.

More than six decades after the event, the General Assembly commemorated the day by adopting several resolutions on Israel and the Palestinians. One resolution “reiterates [the General Assembly’s] determination that any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

The resolution added that “a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of the City of Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and Israeli sides and should include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants.”

Another resolution “declares that the Israeli decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and has no validity whatsoever... and calls upon Israel to rescind it.”

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