(Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse)
Many Jewish-American groups have expressed concern and disappointment over the United Nation's vote to overwhelmingly approve a statehood bid for the Palestinian Territories.
In response to the United Nations General Assembly's vote on Thursday to grant Palestine an elevated status in the global body, various organizations believed this would hinder peace for the Holy Land. The Washington DC-based Jewish Council for Public Affairs released a statement, calling it the "wrong way to Palestinian statehood."
"We would like to be congratulating and warmly welcoming UN recognition of a Palestinian state; not just as a non-member observer state, but as a full member of the world body," said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow.
"But as Israel, the United States, and the Quartet have asserted time and again, a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only come about through direct negotiations between the parties, not unilateral and symbolic steps at the UN."
Gutow also said that Palestinian statehood "must be achieved in a way that ensures the security of Israel if there is to be lasting peace and shared prosperity."
"…[W]e hope Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's promising efforts to create a security apparatus and successful economy in the West Bank, which can sustain a future state negotiated with Israel, will continue to receive support," said Gutow.
The New York-based Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) released a statement Friday morning where URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs said he was "deeply disappointed" by the vote.
"We believe this decision will undercut incentives for a final agreement that must be negotiated by the two impacted parties directly," said Jacobs.
"We are also concerned about the potential for this decision to enable the Palestinians to challenge Israel…in the international arena in U.N. sponsored venues such as the International Criminal Court, a move that will do serious damage to rebuilding the trust between Israel and the Palestinians."
Jacobs also urged President Barack Obama to "take the lead in mobilizing robust negotiations as soon as possible."
"As we have seen repeatedly over the decades, and most recently during the confrontation between Israel and Hamas, U.S., leadership is crucial if diplomatic progress is to be made," said Jacobs.
On Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to grant a statehood bid made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
In total, 138 member states voted in favor of the resolution, 9 opposed it, and 41 abstained. The nine nations who voted against the measure were the United States of America, Israel, Canada, Panama, the Czech Republic, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.
The U.N.'s vote grants Palestine the status of "nonmember observer state;" this means the Palestinian Territories can now participate in U.N. debates and possibly join U.N. bodies such as the International Criminal Court.
While concern was raised in nations like the United States and Israel, in places like the Gaza Strip and West Bank throngs of Palestinians, even from rival factions such as Hamas and Fatah, cheered the measure.