Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 15, 2019
The United States continues to oppose the annual submission of more than a dozen resolutions biased against Israel. This one-sided approach only undermines trust between the parties and fails to create the kind of positive international environment critical to achieving peace.
We are disappointed that, despite support for reform, member states continue to disproportionally single out Israel through these types of resolutions. It is deplorable that the United Nations – an institution founded upon the idea that all nations should be treated equally – should be so often used by member states to treat one state in particular, Israel, unequally. As the United States has repeatedly made clear, this dynamic is unacceptable. We see resolutions that are quick to condemn all manner of Israeli actions, but say nothing or almost nothing about terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. This is particularly apparent when we see Israel blamed for the situation in Gaza, while none of these resolutions even mentions the word “Hamas,” or any armed groups in Gaza. Just this week, we saw barrages of rockets on Israelis civilians fired from Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza. It is shameful that the UN cannot condemn these acts of terror in any of the resolutions we will vote today.
And so the United States will once again vote against these one-sided resolutions and encourages other nations to do so. This includes voting against the resolution titled Assistance to Palestine Refugees, which renews the mandate for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) through June 30, 2023.
As you are all well aware, the United States no longer provides financial contributions to UNRWA. We have made clear our position that the fundamental model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years are simply unsustainable. Palestinians deserve better than a crisis-driven provision model that routinely imperils the very services that UNRWA seeks to provide to its beneficiaries, and the UN cannot expect the international community to fund a model based on an endlessly expanding number of beneficiaries.
Given the seriousness of the UN’s preliminary findings in the ongoing OIOS investigation, we are disappointed to see that Members of this body are not stepping up to be more discerning with the agency. Earlier this week, during the Interactive Dialogue with the Acting Commissioner General, UNRWA donors had an opportunity to raise concerns and engage openly, but only three parties asked questions. Putting aside the very political elements of UNRWA — all of us should be pressing the UN for full accountability for any malfeasance, increased transparency, and credible assurances that there are effective measures in place to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse, going forward.
As we have said before, the United States remains ready to engage with others on plans to transfer some services to host governments, or to other international or local non-governmental organizations, as appropriate, to better provide Palestinians with a more durable and dependable path towards a brighter future. But short of that – we also stand ready to engage with all of you on oversight issues so that any management practices and/or allegations of misconduct that are currently being investigated by the UN will not be repeated.
As we have made clear at all levels of our government, the United States remains firmly and consistently committed to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Resolutions like those introduced here today only distract from this process. One-sided resolutions do not help advance peace. The cause of peace will be served when the bias of the United Nations against Israel ends. The United States will continue to oppose every effort to delegitimize Israel, and we hope other Members join us by voting “no” on these resolutions.