Israel’s UN ambassador lauded a bipartisan measure, overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives, that rebukes the UN for criticizing Israeli “settlements,” adding that he’s looking forward to working with the incoming Trump administration.
American lawmakers voted 342-80 on Thursday for a non-binding resolution that declares unwavering support for Israel and insists that the US reject any future actions at the UN that are similarly “one-sided and anti-Israel.”
The House action was taken in response to the Obama administration’s abstention in the passing of Resolution 2334 at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last month, which condemns Israeli “settlements” – i.e. Jewish communities in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – as an obstacle to a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The UN resolution essentially endorsed the Palestinian position by calling for the pre-1967 lines to serve as the reference point for final borders. According to the new measure, Resolution 2334 “undermines the prospect for Israelis and Palestinians resuming productive, direct negotiations” and should be “repealed or fundamentally altered.”
The US has traditionally used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to scuttle resolutions that condemn Israel. Disputes between Israel and the Palestinians must be resolved through direct negotiations, according to longstanding practice and policy.
“Our government abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. “It is time to repair the damage done by this misguided hit job at the UN.”
Democrats Divided on Resolution
The measure against the anti-Israel UN resolution divided Democrats, however. “The point of the measure seems to be to bash Obama on the way out,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who along with many other Democrats still voiced strong support for Israel. They said Obama deserved credit for engineering last year’s new, long-term security agreement that gives Israel $38 billion in U.S. military aid, including $5 billion for missile defenses.
Israel and its supporters lashed out at Obama for not using US veto power in December to prevent the passing of Resolution 2334. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, for example, a lifelong Democrat, said that “what Obama did was so nasty.”
Haim Saban, Israeli-American business mogul and mega-donor to the Democratic party, in a statement on Wednesday slammed the abstention at the UN, saying that “as a longstanding Democrat who has supported and defended President Obama…I am deeply disturbed by the Administration’s decision not to veto United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.” He also joined top Democratic lawmakers in bashing Secretary of State John Kerry’s “one-sided” speech against Israel at the State Department that followed the passing of the UN resolution.
Rep. Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the panel’s top Democrat, sponsored the new House measure.
“Today’s resolution is a testament to the bipartisan support for the State of Israel in the United States. Leaders from both parties proved once again that the US-Israel alliance is based not only on shared interests, but also on shared values,” said Ambassador Danon. “This special relationship has endured the test of time and I have no doubt that it will continue to be strengthened in the future. I look forward to working with the new American administration to end the bias against Israel at the UN and to usher in a new era of accountability in the parliament of nations,” the Ambassador concluded.
Israel Welcomes House Vote
Israel welcomed the new House vote, adding its eagerness to work with the incoming Trump administration.
“Today’s resolution is a testament to the bipartisan support for the State of Israel in the United States. Leaders from both parties proved once again that the US-Israel alliance is based not only on shared interests, but also on shared values,” said Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. “This special relationship has endured the test of time, and I have no doubt that it will continue to be strengthened in the future. I look forward to working with the new American administration to end the bias against Israel at the UN and to usher in a new era of accountability in the parliament of nations.”
By: United with Israel Staff and AP