Renew U.N. support for two-state solution By BRIAN D. SIEGAL Sixty years ago, on Nov.

29, 1947, the United Nations voted to end 25 years of British mandatory rule in Palestine and laid the groundwork for a two-state solution -- one Jewish, one Arab. Six months later, under the looming threat of war from the very countries that had rejected the U.N. resolution, the state of Israel declared independence, and the Middle East’s first and only democracy was born. In the past six decades, the United Nations’ partition decision has been overwhelmingly vindicated. In a region plagued with religious extremism, tyranny and economic stagnation, Israel stands as a model of democratic pluralism, economic growth and human progress. Despite these contributions, Israel remains the only state whose right to exist is still under attack, often by the same array of forces that rejected the two-state solution in 1947. Even more worrying is that today’s United Nations no longer plays a constructive role in Mideast peace efforts. The organization’s landmark 1947 decision, for example, has been commandeered by forces opposed to peace with Israel. In an Orwellian twist contrived by Arab countries in 1977, Nov. 29 was designated a ‘‘Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.’’ Abandoning the original resolution’s embrace of a two-state solution, the U.N. pronouncement was distorted beyond recognition, undermining, rather than promoting, peace efforts. To cite just one recent example, last year’s ‘‘Day of Solidarity’’ observed a moment of silence in honor of ‘‘martyred’’ terrorists and included, in full view of top U.N. officials, a large map of ‘‘Palestine’’ on which Israel did not appear. This and other discriminatory U.N. action toward Israel has made this important international body virtually irrelevant to regional peace making. Sadly, no Israeli leader can trust the United Nations to play a productive and fair-minded role in bringing the parties together and helping reach a just solution. It’s time for the United Nations to reclaim the moral high ground, to rescue the meaning of its decision 60 years ago and to once again become a relevant player in the quest for peace. One simple but symbolically potent action would be for top U.N. officials to refuse to participate in this year’s Palestinian ‘‘Day of Solidarity’’ activities. Instead, leaders could use the occasion to speak out in favor of the original spirit of the U.N. resolution -- of the justness for a national homeland for two peoples -- and call upon all parties to pursue an equitable two-state solution. A declaration for a more constructive, even-handed U.N. position need not come at the Palestinians’ expense. By refusing to acquiesce to an anti-Israel agenda promoted by the world’s despots and dictators, the United Nations would make it more, not less, likely

that Palestinians will get a state of their own. A more balanced approach is particularly vital as Israelis, Palestinians and some Arab countries enter a new round of peace negotiations in Annapolis, Md. The United Nations made the right decision in 1947, but in ensuing years its policies were hijacked by member states and nongovernmental organizations more interested in perpetuating conflict than solving it. To move forward, the United Nations must remind itself of the truly courageous vote it took 60 years ago. Only then can the world body live up to the high ideals of its charter and potentially help replicate -- this time successfully -one of the greatest moments in its own history. Brian D. Siegal is executive director of the Greater Miami and Broward Chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

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