Only eight other countries besides Israel voted against making Palestine a non-member state at the United Nations General Assembly. The Czech Republic was the only country in Europe to vote in Israel’s favor. Their official reason for doing so is because they believe that the Palestinian motion would further delay peace talks and that a two-state solution was only possible via negotiations, not unilateral moves at the United Nations. The Czech Republic also is closer to the United States than the European Union and is traditionally a pro-Israel country.

The United States also voted against this UN resolution. As US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, stated, “Unilateral actions, including initiatives to grant Palestinians non-member state observer status at the United Nations would only jeopardize the peace process and complicate efforts to return the parties to direct negotiations! It will neither improve the daily lives of the Palestinians nor foster the truth essential to make progress towards a two-state solution. The Palestinians’ unilateral actions are a clear breach of every agreement that they have signed with Israel, including the Oslo Accords, the Interim Agreement and the Paris Protocol.”

Canada was also very much critical of Palestinian unilateralism in violation of the Oslo Agreements and worked actively to try to stop the UN vote. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird asserted, “This resolution will not advance the cause of peace or spur a return to negotiations. Will the Palestinian people be better off as a result? No. On the contrary, this unilateral step will harden positions and raise unrealistic expectations while doing nothing to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. Any unilateral action, from either side, outside of the bilateral framework outlined above is ultimately unhelpful.”

The other countries that stood with Israel were Panama, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Nauru. When Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli had visited Israel in 2010, he told Israeli President Shimon Peres that Panama will always stand with Israel in appreciation of its “guardianship of the capital of the world—Jerusalem. Panama is a small country but it has a big heart for Israel.” Evidently, 8,000 Jews live in Panama, many Panamanian senior government officials are Jewish, and Jews have contributed immensely to Panama’s cultural and economic life. In addition, Panama also has strong relations with the United States.

Israeli President Shimon Peres has described Micronesia as “one of Israel’s greatest friends.” Peres told the Micronesian President in 2010, “I don’t know the size of your country, but I know the size of your friendship.” Micronesian President Emanuel Mori stated following the UN vote, “Israel is a minority in the Middle East and struggling to survive. We are also out there. We have no enemies, only natural ones. Typhoons come, and we survive. Being surrounded by not-friendly neighbors, we kind of pity them.” Israel also supplies Micronesia with experts on citrus crops, irrigation techniques, medical technicians, and scholarships to Israeli universities.

Congressman Benjamin Gilman of New York has described the Marshall Islands as a “small nation perhaps but its courageous actions show a sense of integrity greater than its size.” The Marshall Islands has traditionally been a friend of Israel at the United Nations out of the strong conviction that it is the right thing to do. A former President of the Marshall Islands, Kessai Hessa Note, asserted, “We are proud to support the State of Israel as the vanguard of democracy in this region despite the constant acts of terrorism that have beset your great nation and people over the years.”

Israel was the first non-Pacific country to recognize Palau’s independence in 1994. In fact, Israel not only favored Palau’s entrance into the UN, but offered economic aid to the young state. Israel routinely sends agricultural and fishing experts to Palau. As of 2006, Palau has the highest voting concurrence with Israel in the United Nations. In 2006, the President of Palau proclaimed that his country and Israel are “the best of friends.”

Reported by Rachel Avraham for United With Israel

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