Schakowsky, Dold Support President's UN Speech
Politicians, rabbi oppose Palestinian statehood bid.
Local members of Congress and a Glencoe rabbi voiced strong support for President Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday opposing a bid for statehood by the Palestinian Authority through the Security Council.
President Obama told world leaders Wednesday the only path to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is direct negotiations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans to ask the Security Council to recognize statehood Friday. President Obama has threatened a veto.
Supporting the president
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston), Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) and Rabbi Debra Nesselson of Glencoe, who sat on a White House committee on American-Israeli relations under the Obama administration, all agreed with the President’s position.
“I strongly support the President’s diplomatic leadership and efforts to convince the Palestinians and their international allies to abandon efforts to use the UN to bypass negotiations with Israel,” Schakowsky said. “It is only through direct peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians themselves that a lasting solution can be found.”
Dold agrees direct negotiations between the parties are the only way to find lasting peace in the region. He also supports the President’s promise to use a veto to prevent what he calls an attempt to bypass talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“I am pleased that President Obama is committed to vetoing this unilateral attempt on the Security Council,” Dold said. “We must continue in our efforts to urge the nations of the world to stand with the United States, support peace efforts in the Middle East, and oppose this resolution.”
Nesselson is concerned the unilateral attempt by Abbas could harm the peace process. She was one of 15 rabbis—the only one from Illinois—that spent two sessions at the White House in April and May last year getting briefed on the ongoing peace process.
“Whatever the outcome of the UN vote will be will make no difference to the people on the ground,” Nesselson said. “The perception that lives will change is a sad premise.”
She has long supported a two-state solution.
A two-state solution
Schakowsky and Dold are also proponents of the two state solution. They think President Obama’s existing efforts are the best way to achieve the goal.
“The only path to lasting peace, with two states living side-by-side in peace and security, is through direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Dold said. “We must continue in our unambiguous and firm commitment to this principle.”
Schakowsky takes the issue a step further. She recognizes not only the need for a Palestinian state but one where the Palestinian people can live with pride and prosperity alongside Israel as a Jewish nation.
“The President emphasized the importance not just of peace, but of human dignity and economic opportunity,” Schakowsky said. “He also emphasized any peace agreement must acknowledge and address the ongoing security threats faced daily by Israel and be based on a recognition that Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people.”
Nesselson is also concerned statements by one of the President’s potential Republican rivals, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, will push Israelis and Palestinians further apart. She did not that Perry accused Obama of "appeasement" in his dealings with Palestinian Authority.
“America’s insurance Israel will have a qualitative military edge in the region is not appeasement,” Nesselson said. “His ideas could heighten friction and lead to potential violence and blood,” she added, referring to Perry’s call for expansion of West Bank settlements.