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AJC: UN Vote on "Palestine" A Setback for Peace

NEW YORK, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC called today's UN General Assembly recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state in the world body a sad day for peace.

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"The overwhelming majority of UN members have rewarded Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for defiance, for refusing to engage in direct talks with Israel," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Those countries that chose to support the PA today, if truly committed to peace, must now follow-up and press Abbas to fulfill his pledge to resume negotiations with Israel If successful at the UN. After all, in the real world the only path to sustainable peace is direct talks, and without layer upon layer of preconditions. Abbas walked out four years ago. Israel awaits his return."

The General Assembly adopted the measure by a vote of 138 in favor, 9 opposed, with 41 abstaining. "We applaud Canada, the United States, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Panama, Czech Republic, Micronesia and Israel for standing firm in rejecting this Palestinian diplomatic gambit," said Harris. "In reality, the General Assembly vote is a transitory victory for Abbas. It does not bring the Palestinian people any closer to achieving an actual state. For that, it is the peace table, not the UN General Assembly hall, that provides the right venue."

AJC also called the attitude of Abbas towards the U.S. "shameful," after he rebuffed direct appeals from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to not go ahead with today's request for UN action. Indeed, Clinton made a special trip to Ramallah to meet with Abbas, at a time when Arab countries were openly supporting Hamas in Gaza and ignoring the PA president.

"President Abbas has a decision to make that will determine the course of Israeli-Palestinian relations," said Harris. "He can continue to pursue an unachievable path to statehood through the UN, or he can return now to peace negotiations with Israel. The choice, if he is serious about peace, should be crystal clear."

SOURCE American Jewish Committee

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