January 03, 2017
U.S. lawmakers will have their first opportunity this week to respond legislatively to last month’s controversial U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel, and a vote has been lined up for Thursday.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) announced Monday that the House will vote on a resolution opposing Security Council resolution 2334.
The U.N. measure passed just before Christmas after the Obama administration chose to abstain rather than use its veto to kill it – as it did in the case of a similar resolution in 2011.
“This Thursday, the House will not abstain from its responsibility and will vote on a bipartisan resolution reaffirming our longstanding policy in the region and support of Israel,” McCarthy and Royce said in a statement.
“This administration has lost all credibility when it comes to Israel,” they said. “The administration’s stunt at the U.N. hurt our ally Israel and made peace in the region even more difficult to achieve.”
In another initiative, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) says he will introduce a resolution expressing “the sense of the Senate that we stand in support of Israel and disapprove of the U.N.’s actions.”
Moran slammed what he called “a series of blatantly misguided choices” by the Obama administration with relation to Israel, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s controversial Mideast speech last week.
“The incoming administration will have to work overtime to repair the damage President Obama has done,” he added.
Late last week Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) introduced a resolution disapproving of the “administration’s failure to veto this one-sided and anti-Israel resolution” in the Security Council.
Ross’ measure has 21 co-sponsors, all Republicans, although members of both parties have criticized of the U.N. action and the administration’s decision to abstain.
“I have always believed that Israel can’t get a fair shake at the U.N., and that is why Israel has relied on the United States to protect it from the anti-Israel tendencies of some U.N. Security Council members,” House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said after the vote in New York.
“This abstention represents a clear departure from convention, and I consider this a break in the Obama administration’s word that they would veto biased or one-sided anti-Israel resolutions.”
Resolution 2334 is the first condemning Israeli settlements in disputed territories to have been adopted by the Security Council in more than three decades.
It is also more far-reaching than the last one – which passed in 1979 after the Carter administration abstained (along with Britain and Norway) – in that it declares that Israel’s presence in those areas, including its most sacred sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, “constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”
The U.S.-brokered 1993 Oslo peace accords asserted that the final status of the territories disputed between Israelis and Palestinians would be determined by the parties themselves in negotiations.
Critics of resolution 2334 say that by declaring those areas to be not disputed but occupied “Palestinian territory,” it effectively predetermines the outcome of those negotiations, in clear violation of Oslo, and will make the necessary compromises much harder to achieve.