Congressional Israel Allies Caucus Urges President Obama to Veto UNSC Resolution
The following statement was issued by the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, co-chaired by Congressmen Trent Franks and Elliot Engel:
"The Members of the Israel Allies Caucus write to you as Members of Congress committed to the welfare and security of our democratic ally in the Middle East and Jewish homeland, Israel. We firmly believe that the only way to peace is through direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. The Palestinians’ decision to cease all direct negotiations with the Israelis has effectively killed the peace process; this move must not be tolerated by the United States.
Although the Palestinians have halted negotiations with the Israelis, they have continued to advance their agenda of delegitimizing Israel in the United Nations Security Council and other international forums. This Palestinian strategy of refusing to negotiate, and at the same time encouraging international pressure on Israel, is destroying hopes for peace in the region. We urge the leadership from the United States to unequivocally oppose this Palestinian approach at every opportunity.
The United Nations Security Council will soon vote on a resolution, filed by Arab countries, condemning all Israeli settlement activity and demanding the immediate halt of all construction in disputed territories. The settlement activity is just one issue, among many contentious issues, to be discussed in final status negotiations. Successive Israeli and Palestinian leaders have committed to the Peace Process and have declared that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status would be resolved through direct negotiations. This commitment to engage in ongoing and continuous negotiations is the foundation of the Middle East Peace Process. The refusal of Palestinian negotiators to engage in direct talks is a direct violation of the Oslo Peace Accords, and has halted the peace process.
The U.S. must not condone this circumventing of the peace process. The Members of the Israel Allies Caucus are convinced that the only hope for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is through direct talks, and not through the United Nations Security Council. There will inevitably be many more bumps and obstacles along the path to peace, including borders, Jerusalem, refugees and water. Abbas must therefore not be permitted to threaten a withdrawal every time such difficulties arise. For more than fifteen years, the Palestinians have negotiated with the Israelis without creating preconditions, and that must continue to be the case now.
The Members of the Israel Allies Caucus urge President Obama to exercise his veto power in the Security Council to block this attempt by Palestinian negotiators to circumvent the peace process, and to impose their agenda through the United Nations. The United States must make it clear to Abbas that negotiations must continue without threats or walkouts; this is the only real path to peace."