Jason Greenblatt, United States assistant to the president and special representative for international negotiations, told the United Nations Security Council on July 23 that “international consensus” and international law will not solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Greenblatt said that the Security Council needs to have a “serious conversation” about “the constant drumbeat of tired rhetoric that is designed to prevent progress and to bypass direct negotiations.” He singled out the rhetoric about the need for “international consensus” on the issue because there has yet to be such a consensus on the issue.
“International consensus is too often nothing more than a mask for inaction,” Greenblatt said. “Let us not forget that day when the United Nations could not even find a way to build an international consensus behind the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization that relentlessly attacks Israelis by incendiary balloons, missiles, attack tunnels and other means, sometimes while hiding in residential neighborhoods filled with Palestinian families.”
He added that there has also not been an international consensus on condemning the Palestinian Authority for “rewarding terrorism and the murder of Israelis using public funds, some donated by countries in this very room.”
On the matter of international law, Greenblatt said it is “inconclusive” on the Israel-Palestinian conflict since there are “cogent arguments” on both sides of the issue.
Neither international consensus nor international law will resolve the matter of Jerusalem, Greenblatt argued.
“No international consensus or interpretation of international law will persuade the United States or Israel that a city in which Jews have lived and worshipped for nearly 3,000 years and has been the capital of the Jewish State for 70 years, is not — today and forever — the capital of Israel,” Greenblatt said. “Jerusalem is a city of three world faiths. The rights of all who wish to worship at the holy sites in the city of Jerusalem must be protected.”
He added that the Palestinians aspire to have East Jerusalem as their capital, but reminded the Security Council that “an aspiration is not a right” and thus only “direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians can resolve the issue of Jerusalem, if it can be resolved.“
Greenblatt proceeded to call out “those who have weaponized the term ‘occupation’ in order to criticize Israel are doing nothing to promote a resolution to this conflict,” arguing “that Israel has already conceded at least 88 percent of the territory captured by Israel in the defensive war it had no choice but to fight in 1967.”
He urged the countries in the Security Council to keep an open mind on the Trump administration’s peace plan when they make it public.
“A solution cannot be forced on the parties,” Greenblatt said. “Unilateral steps in international and multilateral fora will do nothing to solve this conflict. Let’s be honest with ourselves, and the parties, and the region, that the only way ahead is direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”
The full speech can be seen below:
Quotes provided by United States Mission to the United Nations website.