Jerusalem, Aug. 9 – Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday urged a delegation of visiting ambassadors to vote at the United Nations according to their democratic values instead of voting reflexively against Israel.
Hoyer, who is in Israel on a mission organized by AIPAC, spoke to 18 ambassadors and one other senior diplomat from four continents who are on a five-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“The issue (at the U.N.) is not siding with the United States of America. The issue is reflecting values that you adhere to within your own countries,” Hoyer said.
He said that a push by Palestinian leaders to win unilateral recognition on statehood from the United Nations General Assembly next month could destabilize the entire region and set back hopes of a negotiated peace.
“It would be a negative action and we believe it will undermine the opportunity for a peaceful positive agreement,” Hoyer told the ambassadors who are on the third day of a five-day mission organized by The Israel Project. He added that he was speaking on behalf of at least 400 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives.
Too often, Hoyer said, democratic countries at the U.N. sided with authoritarian regimes which orchestrated a continuous stream of anti-Israeli resolutions without thinking through the consequences.
The ambassadors heard a similar message from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday who said the resolution, which Palestinian leaders are expected to bring to the United Nations General Assembly next month, could seriously damage the peace process and make future negotiations much more difficult.
The group, representing nations in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, were also scheduled to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah as well as Sir Ronald Cohen of the Portland Trust, a British non-profit which promotes Palestinian economic development. A recent poll by The Israel Project showed that job creation is the top priority for Palestinians.
Meetings are also planned with entrepreneurs and innovators in the fields of alternative energy, agriculture, medicine and environmental services. A visit is also planned to Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV), which since 1958 has provided development training to more than 200,000 people from around the world.
The ambassadors will also learn about Israel’s humanitarian programs that respond to natural disasters around the world and explore opportunities for bilateral trade.
The trip is sponsored by The Israel Project, an American non-profit educational organization that provides facts, analysis and background information about Israel and the Middle East to the media, public officials and the public. TIP also reaches out to Palestinians and other Arabs in Arabic through its “People to People” Peace program which works to open hearts and minds in the Arab world toward peace and a better future for both sides. More than 100,000,000 people in the Arab world have signed up as “fans” of the TIP Arabic Facebook page, “Israel Uncensored” which was launched only two months ago.
The diplomats taking part in the mission are:
Barbados: Ambassador John E. Beale and Leila Mol Beale
Belize: Ambassador Nestor Enrique Mendez and Elvira Rosela Mendez
Benin: Ambassador Sagbe Cyrille Oguin and Hortense Dossa Oguin
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Miroslav Vujicic, Chief of the Cabinet of the Chairman of the Presidency
Burkina Faso: Ambassador Paramanga Ernest Yonli
Dominica: Ambassador Hubert John Charles
Dominican Republic: Ambassador Anibal De Castro
Grenada: Ambassador Gillian Margaret Susan Bristol
Haiti: Ambassador Louis Harold Joseph
Liberia: Ambassador William Bull and Cecelia Zina Freeman Bull
Macedonia: Ambassador Zoran Jolevski and Suzana Jolevska
Mongolia: Ambassador Bekhbat Khasbazar
Montenegro: Ambassador Srdjan Darmanovic and Aneta Spaic
Slovakia: Ambassador Peter Burian and Nina Burianova
St. Lucia: Ambassador Michael Louis
Timor-Leste: Ambassador Constancio C. Pinto
Trinidad & Tobago: Ambassador Neil Parsan
Uganda: Ambassador Perezi Kanunanwire and Carolyn Hubbard-Kamunanwire