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Lowey: U.N. Decision on Palestinian Authority a Mistake

United Nations gives Palestinian Authority "nonmember observer" status.

The United Nations this afternoon approved "nonmember observer state" status for the Palestinian Authority.

The measure was OK'd 138-9, with the U.S. and Canada voting against the proposal.

In response, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, quickly called the move a mistake.

“Today’s decision by the United Nations General Assembly to grant enhanced status to the Palestinian Authority is a mistake that will set back – not hasten – prospects for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians," said Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.

“A genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through a negotiated settlement between the parties themselves.  Rather than engaging in these direct negotiations, it is disturbing that the Palestinians have chosen instead to undertake unilateral measures through international organizations," Lowey said.  “It is in our interest and that of Israel to support the Palestinian Authority’s ability to provide basic services through economic and security assistance, but that is predicated on the willingness of the Palestinian Authority to negotiate directly with Israel.  I have encouraged the Administration to use all diplomatic tools at their disposal, monetary or otherwise, to make our opposition to such unilateral steps clear, and to encourage the Palestinian Authority to return to direct meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, called the vote a "harmful distraction."

“Today's political theater at the United Nations is a harmful distraction from achieving true peace and stability between Israel and Palestine," Gillibrand said. "The only credible path for a two-state solution is through the negotiating table. The United States has made clear to the Palestinians and to others around the world that we stand with our ally Israel at this time of grave risk and insecurity. I urge Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to do everything in his power to block the Palestinians from access to the International Criminal Court.”

Congressman Eliot Engel condemned the United Nation's vote.

“I would like to see a two-state solution where a state of Palestine would live peacefully next to the state of Israel," Engel said. "But, this is not the way to get there. In fact, making Palestine a “nonmember observer state” outside of bilateral negotiations with Israel places the cart before the horse and eliminates the incentives for the Palestinians to engage in any type of dialogue with Israel."

“Indeed, the international community has its incentives for the Palestinians totally backwards," Rep. Engel stated. "Hamas shoots thousands of rockets at Israel and gets visits and legitimization from the international community.  The Palestinian Authority is unwilling to engage in dialogue to reach a compromise with Israel and becomes a non-member observer state. Rewarding these actions is like putting the car in reverse and stepping on the gas."

jeff meyer November 30, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Most reasonable people desire a two state solution. Don't forget that Palestinians had the same chance at Statehood with the UN Mandate of 1948 yet rejected it. Sadly, the Palestinians of today must deal with the consequences of that unwise decision. There will never be a state of Palestine as long as HAMAS and HEZBOLLAH have influence in GAZA. Why? Because they desire the annihilation of ISRAEL. This year my wife and I spent much time in ISRAEL. The difference between GAZA and the WEST BANK is light years. GAZA is still in the stone age while the WEST BANK is flourishing with economic activity and development. Why? Because FATAH is reasonable and willing to work and compromise with ISRAEL. GAZA is not. For those who criticize Israel for not showing "restraint" I ask you this question; would the USA show restraint if rockets were being launched from CANADA or MEXICO onto our sovereign soil. I think not. This unreasonable double standard should not apply to ISRAEL. I wish for a State of PALESTINE. Only under the condition that the security of ISRAEL is not threatened. That means that HAMAS and HEZBOLLAH must be eradicated. Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY
Mike Hirsch December 01, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Jeff, As one who has lived, worked, and soldiered in Israel, I agree with you about the Palestinians in the West Bank. I have many friends that I am in touch with over there, and there is alot of cooperation and mutual business interests between the Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately, the ultrareligious jews have alot of influence in the Israeli government and want to keep building settlements even though most of the secular jews do not, so that remains a real problem for a peace agreement. As far as Hamas and Hezbollah are concerned, the only thing that they have in common is that they are both armed by Iran. Hezbollah in Lebanon is a real threat. They are Shias and now control that fragile state. The Sunnis in Gaza are not a serious threat. The Shias and Sunnis hate each other (you can see that from what is happening in Syria).
Pat Godfrey December 01, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Mike, the larger point is that there is no negotiation with Hezbollah and Hamas, Their goal is annihilation of Israel. Israel's only option if they want to stay a country and keep their citizens safe is to destroy these terrorist organizations. The UN and the rest of the world should stay out of it and let Israel protect themselves.
claudia jones December 01, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I wish the USA wouldn't give Israel a free pass. Instead, hold their feet to the fire to create a two state solution, so the next generation has a chance to live in peace!
Bjorn Olsson December 01, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Pat: Just how do you propose this would happen, without negotiations? Simply kill everyone suspected of working for Hamas? (Which by the way is the elected ruling party) For every dead member, two more would rise up. Or simply kill ALL palestinians? Or finally occupy all Palestinian territory and create an apartheid state? I sure as hell have no solutions, but closing the door and see who comes out alive seems both cruel and unlikely to succeed.
Herb Platzner December 01, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Thanks Pat. But let me try and simplify the situation with a true life incident. Consider two boys in a neighborhood fighting over jurisdiction. Every Friday night this occurs. Neighborhood is ethnic. Boys each represent their own group. Finally each one declares their intention of stopping their Friday night practice of hurting each other. Both are neighborhood kids whose families grew up in the area. Their brutality now seemed to have an end until one boy said, "i will quit fighting as soon as you and all your family leave here and never return". Now you tell me who, out there, would agree to leave and never return ??? This happened. 1937. Bronx, NY. And no, fighting continued. Pat Godfrey said it. Israeli and Palestinian hostiliies do not seem to have an end.
Mike Hirsch December 01, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Pat, Hezbollah is in control of Lebanon. They know that if they rain their missiles down on Tel Aviv, Lebanon will be destroyed. That is not in their best interest. They are very intelligent and rational foes despite their rhetoric. The real problem in Gaza is the lack of economic opportunity. If the people there were able to make a living and dare to hope and dream about a better future, most of them would choose that path. As it is now, they have no future and nothing to do, so they hate.
Patriot December 02, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Sadly some have bought the mainstream media anti Israel bias The Arabs in the Gaza strip voted for Hamas a terror group. The West should not reward terror. Radical Islamists around the world are united in their hatred of everything the West stands for. Israel is the victim here and the Arabs have always rejected opportunities for peace.
S.Diamond December 02, 2012 at 05:27 AM
About time we shut the UN down. Best country on the planet getting slapped in the face on our own soil. 132 to 9. Just solidifies that we're viewed as garbage. Take my 9 friends and go elsewhere, no more embassys and foes with diplomatic immunities here and no more funds and aid to the 132. Let the show begin. Will save billions to help us here that need it.
Herb Platzner December 02, 2012 at 07:15 AM
All comments only serve to prove the absolute difficulties of obtaining a peaceful decision. With it all that great institution just added more fuel to the fire. Israel will now answer in kind. If nothing else, S. Diamond's comments should be now be considered as a positive action. Rid ourselves of the UN along with the corruption it sponsprs.
Patriot December 02, 2012 at 07:51 AM
The Arab media and education glorifies terrorism that shows who the real obstacle to peace is and it's not Israel.
Dan Seidel December 02, 2012 at 12:48 PM
JEFF, you can see light!! OK!! The Arab Palestine is called Jordan. The Jewish Palestine is called Israel. PS: go look up Tom Gross media - Gaza. It's not in the stone age, it has malls, very modern apts, a gold market, Hanniyeh said they need to export not import (save for the missiles and bombs), there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza (again Hanniyeh as well as the UN). The warlords just like their $$millions of stolen US aid as well as being warlords. The World is crazy.
Dan Seidel December 02, 2012 at 12:49 PM
For all newbies: google this Islam precept and then start to read up!! al-wala' w-al-bara'.
Bjorn Olsson December 02, 2012 at 05:27 PM
How many radical muslims do you think there would be if Israel had not been created and displaced the Palestinians in 1948?
Herb Platzner December 03, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Israelis are not the only enemies of radical Muslims. In fact they are a small minority as it compares to the rest of the non-muslim population of the world.
Patriot December 03, 2012 at 10:42 PM
There would be many Radical Muslims even if Israel had never been created. Radical Islam has always sought to reestablish the caliphate or the Islamic empire they are waging attacks against India, France and many places which have nothing to do with Israel. They do not need an excuse to be angry they are taught by their radical Imams to hate.
Sharon White December 04, 2012 at 01:54 AM
There will never be peace as long as the HAMAS terrorist are kicking sand in other people's faces. Besides, they really belong in Jordon. They are Jordanians.
Patriot December 04, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Here is a link about the Islamist from the area they want to give a state to who shot in cold blood US soldiers in a terror attack http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DbHtwNex4Lk. People who's ideology encourages this type of behavior should not be rewarded with a state.
Patriot December 04, 2012 at 10:56 PM
There would be many Radical Muslims even if Israel had never been created. Radical Islam has always sought to reestablish the caliphate or the Islamic empire they are waging attacks against India, France and many places which have nothing to do with Israel. They do not need an excuse to be angry they are taught by their radical Imams to hate.
Sharon White December 05, 2012 at 12:18 PM
AND I fear our Dear Leader Obama is teaching half of the populace to hate other Americans and America...It is quite evident in his actions and appointments of people in and around him. Obama IS the Manchurian candidate for Islam.
Bjorn Olsson December 05, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Sharon, your fears are unfounded. The country will still be here. Obama will not emerge as a radical muslim and "take over" the country. That's all nonsense and unfortunately this nonsense blocks too much of the serious discussions that could be had in America today.
Theresa Brick December 07, 2012 at 11:31 AM
It never ceases to amaze me that a people who endured hatred, prejudice, ghettoization, prison camps, etc, would do the same thing to others in the blink of an eye. Look at Gaza and what do you see? I see another Auschwitz. The people of Gaza live in "refugee camps" on their own soil. Every move they make is controlled by Israel, even fishing off their own coastline! The Israelis routinely throw gas canisters at crowds, even children. They have created an enemy, & now want the world to join them in their hatred & justification of violence. Hamas was elected because they provided the best security, healthcare,& other services to the people of Gaza. Would this choice have been necessary if these people didn't live in such harsh conditions? We call Hamas a terrorist group, but someone from Gaza wouldn't know the difference. The American people are not aware of the truth of Israel. Just watch the BBC instead of ABC, & you will see a much different world.
Sharon White December 07, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Theresa, Have you been to GAZA?? Everything you just said about the people in GAZA is LIE. I can only believe that you have been brainwashed by MSLSD. The people of GAZA are free to do as they please....it is HAMAS that is the enemy warmongers.
Sharon White December 07, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Here, Theresa, read some real news about GAZA: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3922596,00.html This past Saturday night, the Gaza Strip marked the grand opening of its new shopping mall, known as Strip Mall. So as the world continues to chastise Israel over its "blockade," Gaza residents (including the over 10,500 allowed intro Israel for medical treatment in 2009) can enjoy life at the fancy new shopping center. Grand Opening 1st Gaza mall attracts thousands / Ali Waked Despite siege, new shopping center in Strip opened its doors last Saturday to enthusiastic crowds, offering international brands, much-needed air-conditioning Full Story Curiously, a day after the mall opened, the European Union's Senior Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, called for Israel to lift the Gaza blockade. One wonders whether she found the time, while inspecting all the terrible sights of Gaza's humanitarian crisis during her visit, to stop by the new Gaza mall to check out how sales were going.
Mike Hirsch December 07, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Sharon, I have spent time in Gaza as well as Lebanon and the West Bank. Life in Gaza is horrible, believe me. The real problem is that the young people are basically trapped there and have no way to improve their situation. They hate their predicament. Israel is the scapegoat.
Sharon White December 07, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Mike, the young people's problem is not Israel's fault ...Hamas is their problem, the young are fed lies by a terrorist organization who wants to keep the money flowing into it for their own purpose. Certainly, the purpose is not for the people of Gaza. Hamas loves war and a hate for Israel. Envy is a sin.
Mike Hirsch December 07, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Sharon, I agree that Israel is not to blame. If Egypt would open their border to Gaza, life would improve there, but the Egyptians do not want to take on that problem. They have enough of their own. I also agree that Hamas are the bad guys. Unfortunately, theirs is the only avenue for the unemployed, poorly educated, powerless young people in Gaza to vent their rage for the situation they're in. If the oil sheikdoms in the gulf would work with the Egyptians to offer the people of Gaza hope that they could improve their lot, that would be a step in the right direction. The sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland went on for 100 years. Maybe the Israelis and Gazans can make peace in another 40.
Bjorn Olsson December 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM
I think this discussion does a good job of highlighting the problem of this endless conflict. You have everything from the extreme positions: "The palestinians don't exist, they are a made up people who keeps resisting Israel ONLY because they hate Jews" and: "Israel is doing to the Arabs what the nazis did to them" to the more moderate who just wish everyone could just get along. It's so hard to figure out what actually goes on there (and a hint: whenever a source claims to be telling you "the real news that The Media won't tell you", you should just surf on, those sites are ALWAYS super-partisan, dumb and wrong. Without exception.
Bjorn Olsson December 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM
The Palestinians are splintered, so it makes any peace talks difficult, because who do you call? If you have a treaty with Abbas, Hamas will shoot rockets and probably vice versa. Israel has its share of idiots, the settlers, whose stated reason for settling the occupied territories is to make any two state solution impossible. Both sides have to realize they cannot "win." I think most of us would rather live in Israel than in pretty much any arab country, since it has a well developed democracy. They can't STAY a true democracy, though, unless they either allow a truly independent Palestinian state or grant them full citizenship in their own country. Neither side will conveniently go away, so figure it out or condemn another generation to this conflict. There might be some hope from Northern Ireland, That seemed impossible, but was worked out.
Robert Guttman December 08, 2012 at 12:05 AM
The trouble with the U.N. granting State status to Palestine is that the Palestinians consider the "State of Palestine" to include ALL the territory comprising the State of Israel. Therefore, If the U.N. grants state status to Palestine, then the Palestinians interpret that to mean that the U.N. has legally granted them sovereignty over ALL of Israel. The Palestinians, along with most Muslim countries (Egypt is one of the very few exceptions), do not recognize the existence of the State of Israel at all, and consider the State of Israel to be nothing more than "Occupied Territory". I know this to be a fact because, unlike most Americans, I've actually spent a good deal of time working in Muslim countries. In most Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, world maps depict Israel as nothing more a blank white space. This is a phenomenon of which most Americans aren't aware, and do not understand. Frankly, from my experience, what most Americans don't understand about the rest of the world is a lot.

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