Over the last several months, Hadassah leaders and coalition partners have been preparing for this week's United Nations General Assembly meeting—monitoring the possible Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) and communicating with key policy makers.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has maintained his commitment to UDI, flouting international pressure to renew direct, bilateral peace negotiations with Israel. Jewish community leaders and allies have emphasized that this declaration would be contrary to all prior Israeli-Palestinian agreements and counterproductive for future peace negotiations.
Yesterday, The Israel Action Network (IAN) and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York unveiled their Petition Against a Unilaterally Declared Palestine, which Hadassah co-sponsored. The IAN delivered petition—which received over 100,000 signatures—to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to the ambassadors of the member states.
After months of speculation, Palestinian officials have announced that Abbas plans to submit a letter to United Nations Security Council on Friday regarding Palestinian statehood, but will not seek a vote in either the Security Council or the U.N. General Assembly.
President Barak Obama addressed the General Assembly this morning, emphasizing the need for both a secure Israel and an independent Palestine.
"America's commitment to Israel's security is unshakeable, and our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. . . . The measure of our actions must always be whether they advance the right of Israeli and Palestinian children to live in peace and security, with dignity and opportunity. We will only succeed in that effort if we can encourage the parties to sit down together, to listen to each other, and to understand each other's hopes and fears. That is the project to which America is committed. And that is what the United Nations should be focused on in the weeks and months to come."
Click here for additional highlights from President Obama's speech.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked President Obama for standing with Israel and supporting peace.
On Friday, President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu will also address the General Assembly. Click here to view live and pre-recorded United Nations webcasts and stay tuned for additional updates from the Hadassah Programming Department. Date: 9/22/2011