In response, the United States proposed a simple amendment to the resolution that called out Hamas for its role in the skirmishes. A minimum fealty to the truth demanded that the United Nations condemn Hamas by name for firing rockets into Israel and for allowing other terror groups to do the same. Basic decency demanded that the United Nations express concern about the damage Hamas purposely does to the border crossings that deliver desperately needed food and fuel to the people of Gaza. We offered our amendment to give countries the opportunity to put the truth above politics by holding Hamas to account.
Nothing like this had ever been done before at the United Nations. Hundreds of resolutions passed by the General Assembly dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have failed even to mention Hamas. What happened next was the beginning of a paradigm shift.
For the first time in the United Nations, more nations than not acknowledged that peace between Israel and the Palestinian people must be built on a foundation of truth regarding Hamas. They recognized that reconciliation is impossible if reality is denied for the sake of scoring political points. And part of that reality is recognizing the primary responsibility Hamas bears in perpetuating the suffering of the people of Gaza.
Unfortunately, Hamas’ malign activity is pushing Israel to engage in increasingly significant acts of self-defense. As in the case of past conflicts, Hamas starts a clash, loses the battle and its people suffer. That is the reality that needs to change.
That foundation of reality underscores our administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a reflection of reality. Any realistic person knows that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel under any peace agreement. But as President Donald Trump said when he made that decision, he made no judgment about the final borders of Jerusalem; the President directly called on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites. Those questions are for the parties to decide.
The peace proposal we will make will be similarly realistic, recognizing the legitimate needs of both Israel and the Palestinians as well as the interests of the broader region. No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that’s the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved. Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities. We got a glimpse of that at the United Nations on June 13. We expect to see more of this in the days ahead. The battleship is turning around.