Remarks at a UN General Assembly Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East

Leslie Ordeman
Deputy Political Coordinator
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 30, 2018


The United States continues to oppose the annual submission of a disproportionate number of unfair resolutions biased against Israel. As in the past, this one-sided approach damages the prospects for peace by undermining trust between the parties and failing to create the kind of positive international environment that is critical to achieving peace.

We are disappointed that, despite messages of support for reform, Member States continue to single out Israel with these resolutions. As the United States has repeatedly made clear, this dynamic is unacceptable. Again, we see resolutions that are quick to condemn all manner of Israeli actions, but say almost nothing about Palestinian terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. This is particularly acute now, when the rocket attacks on November 12 saw more projectiles fired on a single day than on any day since 2014.

That is also why, for the first time, we are introducing a stand-alone resolution to condemn Hamas and other militant groups for their indiscriminate attacks on civilians and primary role in the worsening humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, and actions to restrict free expression and silence political dissent.

Regarding the resolutions subject to a vote on November 29-30, the United States will once again vote against these one-sided resolutions and encourages other nations to do so as well.

These resolutions damage the United Nations’ credibility as they show a clear bias for one party and raise real questions regarding the impartiality of the United Nations. This, in turn, serves to discredit the UN’s important role in supporting the resolution of the conflict in the Middle East.

In particular, the United States has significant concerns with the resolutions “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,” and the “Division for Palestinian Rights.” These two resolutions have actual budgetary implications, and consume limited UN resources better deployed elsewhere. Last year, the operations of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights cost nearly $3 million.

These two resolutions propagate assumptions regarding issues the parties have agreed should be resolved in the context of final status negotiations and do nothing to bring us closer to the goal we all share of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Instead, they undermine our efforts by renewing the mandate of entities which perpetuate a clear and demonstrated bias that only serves to drive the parties further apart.

The Palestinians are the only actor in the UN system with a dedicated division within the UN Secretariat. The message that sends is that the Palestinians never need to come back to the negotiating table – they can rely on flawed and biased mechanisms, such as these, to push their agenda.

The United States remains firmly and consistently committed to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Resolutions like those passed 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 has consistently opposed every effort to delegitimize Israel or undermine its security at the United Nations and we will continue to do so with vigor. We hope other members join us by voting “no” on these resolutions.