Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 10, 2022
Thank you, Mr. Vice Chair.
The United States firmly believes that Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security, and prosperity. A negotiated two-state solution remains the best way to ensure Israel’s security and prosperity for the future and fulfill the Palestinians’ desire for a state of their own. However, there are no shortcuts to statehood, which will only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.
The United States continues to oppose the annual submission of the biased resolutions against Israel which we are here to discuss. We reject measures that are not constructive and that seek to delegitimize Israel. The failure to acknowledge the shared history of the Haram al-Sharif, Temple Mount, in these resolutions demonstrates they are intended only to denigrate and not to help achieve peace.
As such, the United States is deeply concerned with some of the language in the “Israeli Practices” resolution. Notably, the new language on a request for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice – language that is highly problematic. We believe such an effort is counterproductive and will only take the parties further away from the objective we all share of a negotiated two-state solution. Moreover, this language was inserted late in negotiations into a semi-annual resolution of the Fourth Committee. This did not allow for sufficient consultation and is not the appropriate process for this type of request.
The decades-old, one-sided approach of the General Assembly towards the Middle East has failed – failed to build trust and create a positive international environment conducive to achieving peace. This approach consumes limited time and diverts resources from other challenges we face around the world without bringing us any closer to a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli-Palestinian situation is one of the most discussed topics here at the UN. And, each fall, as this Committee meets, many delegations dust off their talking points, reiterating the same messages they have delivered for years. It is time for all of us sitting here to get past our talking points and to pay attention to what is actually transpiring in the region.
In recent years, several countries signed the Abraham Accords and other normalization agreements with Israel. These would have seemed impossible even five years ago, but now, we have government officials, business people, students, and tourists traveling between Israel and those states that have signed agreements, charting a new course of progress and opening new possibilities across the Middle East.
The Negev Forum, for example, provides an opportunity to expand regional cooperation and integration to achieve shared security and prosperity.
While negotiations were indirect and did not constitute normalization, Israel and Lebanon made the historic and difficult decision to demarcate a maritime boundary. Yet, here in Conference Room 4, all still seems to be the same.
The General Assembly must take an honest look at this approach and consider alternatives. We encourage the General Assembly to look for a new way forward and abandon resolutions that are biased against Israel and distract from efforts to achieve peace.
The United States is committed to supporting the path to a two-state solution through constructive measures.
Thank you, Mr. Vice Chair.