April 13, 2011 – New York – AJC is appealing directly to the foreign ministers of key European countries to oppose the current Palestinian effort to achieve a state through a unilateral declaration of independence, and to press the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel.
“AJC, which has long championed a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, appeals to your Government to clarify that it strongly opposes and would act to discourage unilateral Palestinian efforts to attain statehood, affirming that the only practical and acceptable way to resolve this long-standing conflict is through direct talks.”
The full text of the AJC letter to European foreign ministers follows:
April 13, 2011
In recent months, the Palestinian leadership has stepped up its efforts to gain international recognition for unilateral declaration of an independent Palestinian state. Such unwise unilateral action would foreclose further negotiations – effectively ending the peace process. It could also instigate a new cycle of violence, with serious regional implications.
As you know, the Palestinian leadership has refused to rejoin negotiations until its demand for a renewal of the Israeli settlement moratorium is met. Prime Minister Netanyahu initiated such a moratorium for ten months, beginning in November 2009, to facilitate peace talks – a period that nearly elapsed before the Palestinians accepted President Obama’s proposal to restart direct talks in September 2010. Such a refusal to return to the bargaining table until Israel makes a further pre-negotiation concession severely undermines prospects for peace. With the Palestinians declining to negotiate, it is unacceptable that they would claim the absence of progress in the peace process as justification for a unilateral declaration of statehood.
The Palestinian Authority fails to satisfy the traditional criteria for statehood: it does not have effective governmental control in the areas in which a Palestinian state is presumed to exist, or effective control over a permanent population; is not in possession of defined territory; does not have the capacity to freely engage in foreign relations. Further, any unilateral Palestinian attempts to acquire the attributes of statehood outside of the negotiating process would violate existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements, which clearly state that permanent-status issues are subject to agreement between the parties.
Only through direct negotiations with Israel can the Palestinians fully realize their national aspirations. Any attempted shortcut, either at the UN or elsewhere, will only delay a solution, thus unnecessarily prolonging the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians who desire to live in peace and security.
AJC, which has long championed a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, appeals to your Government to clarify that it strongly opposes and would act to discourage unilateral Palestinian efforts to attain statehood, affirming that the only practical and acceptable way to resolve this long-standing conflict is through direct talks.