Diker: UN statehood vote a legacy issue for Abbas, irrespective of the dire consequences

World Jewish Congress Secretary General Dan Diker has said at a press briefing by the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians and the WJC at the United Nations in New York that UN recognition of a Palestinian State could lead to a civil war between competing Palestinian political factions and a possible increase in attacks against Israel. “If this unilateral declaration were to be endorsed by the United Nations it would most likely trigger the continuation of a vicious cycle of violence within the Palestinian side,” he told reporters. “The way that might play out is for Israel to be attacked, in order to distract attention from what is really happening, which is an internal Palestinian civil war between Fatah and Hamas.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was soon going to end his political career and therefore „wants to leave Palestinian politics having made a positive contribution, from his point of view, to the Palestinian people,” Diker emphasized. In an interview with the US news channel ‘CBS News’ he said: „This is a legacy issue for Mahmoud Abbas.” He wanted the UN decision to go forward, with all the implications, including a possible cut off of international aid, may be made solely by Abbas, Diker said, adding: „No Palestinian leader wants to anger the United States, especially when it comes to supplying aid and being the chief sponsor of the peace process in the international community. For the Palestinians to be doing this indicates very clearly, and, I know from Palestinians sources, that this is an internal Palestinian issue, it is a legacy issue for Abbas.”

But not all Palestinians think the vote is a good idea, including Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Diker pointed out. „Fayyad would much prefer a negotiated solution because he understands that this move is a death knell for the Palestinian statehood project, and it is a death knell for the peace process and Mr. Fayyad understands that,” he told ‘CBS News’.

Regardless of the questions surrounding the exact nature of the Palestinian request, the WJC argues that unilateral Palestinian action at the world body will set the peace process back decades and threaten the UN’s integrity. “It would be an egregious violation of the very peace framework that this institution has established for the Arab states and Israel and has supported in every single peace process since 1967.”

Jewish lawmakers from around th world met in New York and Washington

The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) – a partner organization of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) – held a series of meetings in New York City and Washington DC this week. Top on the agenda were the Palestinians’ effort to win the endorsement of the UN General Assembly for a unilaterally declared statehood. Other issues discussed by the lawmakers included security requirements for a viable Middle East peace and the efforts by Iran to gain nuclear weapons.

The ICJP is chaired by Fiamma Nirenstein MP, Italy, and its leadership also comprises the following: Rep. Gary Ackerman, House of Representatives, United Staes; Mark Adler MP, House of Commons, Canada; Irwin Cotler MP, House of Commons, Canada; Michael Danby MP, House of Representatives, Australia; Luis Fishman Zonzinski, Legislative Assembly, Costa Rica; János Fónagy MP, National Assembly, Hungary; MK Shai Hermesh, The Knesset, Israel; Lord Greville Janner, House of Lords, United Kingdom; Floriano Pesaro, São Paulo Municipal Council, Brazil; and Viviane Teitelbaum, Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium.

On Wednesday, the ICJP delegation was hosted by World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder and Secretary General Dan Diker. It met with a number of UN ambassadors, notably of European countries. After their deliberations in New York, the Jewish lawmakers traveled to Washington DC for a briefing with Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, on the current situation in the Middle East, and for meetings with Congressional leaders and colleagues who deal with foreign affairs.