With the United Nations headquarters as a backdrop on Monday, a who's who in New York politics denounced the move by the Palestinian Authority to gain statehood through the U.N. rather than through face to face negotiations with Israel.
"The Palestinians' unilateral bid for statehood through the United Nations is a harmful distraction from achieving true peace and stability between Israel and Palestine," said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "The only credible path for a two state solution is through the negotiating table."
Gillibrand was joined by New York Republican Representatives Bob Turner and Nan Hayworth at the press event sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council and The Jewish Federations of North America.
Also on hand to express support for the Palestinian Authority's return to the Quartet peace process was Representative Charles Rangel, dean of the New York delegation, Representative Gary Ackerman, Representative Nita Lowey, Representative Carolyn Maloney, Representative Jerrold Nadler, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The assembled elected officials said Israel had already taken steps toward a long term peace agreement with the Palestinians.
"People forget Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip," said Nadler, adding that Israel watched Hamas "turn it into a rocket base against Israel."
The Palestinian Authority said the peace process has been marginalized by Israel's continued push to establish settlements on what the Palestinians assert is their land.