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UN shouldn’t vote on Palestine: Pols

The borough's congressional delegation wants Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (r.) to engage in peace talks with Israel that will lead to a Palestinian state instead of going through the United Nations. AP Photo/Khalil Hamra
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Palestinian path to statehood should come through negotiations with Israel, not a United Nations vote, the borough’s elected officials said.

Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas delivered a formal letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban-ki Moon Friday, asking the U.N. to vote on recognizing a Palestinian state as the U.N. General Assembly met last week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinians to resume peace talks, which collapsed last year.

President Barack Obama said the United States would use its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to block the plan.

“Instead of working to achieve the peace that is so desperately needed, the Palestinian Authority’s demand for U.N. recognition of statehood [Friday] appears to be a setup aimed at backing Israel into a corner,” said U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights).

“The reality is the day after any vote by the U.N., the situation on the ground will remain the same as it is today,” he continued. “In fact, the only change that will result is a further erosion of trust — and for good reason. [Friday’s] action by the Palestinian Authority is more about attempting to provoke Israel than creating genuine conditions for peace. This is not a time for games — it is a time for sincere discussions on how to achieve real and lasting peace.”

U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Kew Gardens) said the Palestinian Authority “has not acted as a responsible partner for peace with Israel.

“It continues to pay — with U.S. dollars — terrorists in Israeli prisons convicted of murdering Israeli civilians, and it has done nothing to stop the incessant shelling of Israeli towns. I continue to believe that all U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority be halted until these matters are addressed,” Turner said. “Statehood, which can only happen under the terms of the 1993 Oslo Accord, is out of the question at this time. If the United Nations truly wants to stand up against terrorism, it has a moral obligation to deny this request.”

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) suggested aid to the Palestinians be cut off if they go the U.N. route.

“There are some of us who strongly believe that people have to live with the consequences of their actions, and that there may need to be a total cutoff of all aid to the Palestinians for pursuing this course of action which is very dangerous and ill advised,” he said. “If they’re willing to consider putting their future in the hands of the United Nations, perhaps they should think about how much aid their friends in the U.N. will provide to accompany whatever meaningless, one-sided U.N. resolution they might pass. And then they should think twice, reverse course and get back to the negotiating table where Prime Minister Netanyahu awaits them.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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