U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation urging Obama to oppose anti-Israel resolutions at the UN.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently unanimously passed bipartisan legislation urging President Barack Obama to oppose or veto anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations before he leaves office.
The resolution, which was approved by voice vote, calls on the United States “to oppose and veto United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final status issues, or are one-sided and anti-Israel.” It also calls on Obama to reject any resolution that sets ‘parameters’ for a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce’s (R-CA) said before the vote that “there is a growing concern in Congress that despite established, bipartisan United States policy, the Obama Administration may end the practice of vetoing resolutions in the Security Council that strayed from the principle that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties. U.S. policy has long and wisely been that only Israelis and Palestinians can work out a peace agreement between themselves, and that efforts to impose one would be counterproductive.”
Following the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, “Republicans and Democrats agree that a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations. Today, the House urged the Obama administration to forcefully oppose any unilateral moves by the UN to impose a solution to the conflict. These efforts, which almost always place disproportionate pressure on Israel, only push the parties further apart and undermine the cause of peace.”
“I’m proud to be part of a broad, bipartisan coalition in Congress that stands up for our ally Israel and works to ensure that Israelis have the support they need to pursue a secure peace that will bring safety and opportunity to all people in the region,” House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said in a statement.
In an Op-Ed published by the New York Times last week, former President Jimmy Carter called on Obama to recognize an independent Palestinian state at the UN before leaving office. “I am certain that United States recognition of a Palestinian state would make it easier for other countries that have not recognized Palestine to do so, and would clear the way for a Security Council resolution on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Carter wrote.
“The Security Council should pass a resolution laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict. It should reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications.”
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, expressed his hope that the president will stick to his prior commitments to veto one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Security Council.
“I expect that in the twilight of President Obama’s tenure he will stand by what he said in 2011, that the way to achieve peace does not run through Security Council resolutions, but rather direct negotiations with the Palestinians, which has been the US position for years,” Netanyahu said during a memorial ceremony on Mount Herzl for soldiers killed in the 1956 Sinai campaign.
Gregg Roman, Director of the Middle East Forum, praised the passage of the joint congressional resolution, saying it reflected bipartisan opposition to one-sided concessions.
“The passage of the Royce/Engel resolution sent clear signal that Congress does not believe unilateral concessions to the Palestinians are in the best interests of America or our allies. The Palestinians have repeatedly denied Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and responded to offers of statehood with intifada after intifada. Such intransigence should be overcome, not placated. Peace does not come through concessions to hostile forces, but by convincing them that they have no hope of achieving their goal – in this case, ending Israel.”