Diplomacy

Sens. Schumer & Graham Urge State Dept. to Veto Unilateral Palestinian UN Moves

Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) released a letter today addressed to their former Senate colleague, Secretary of State John Kerry, asking him to announce that the United States will veto any Palestinian resolutions that seek to undermine direct negotiations with Israel and impose terms on the Jewish state.

We write to express concern about ongoing efforts to impose the terms of a peace agreement on our friend and ally Israel outside of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We urge you to make clear that the United States will veto any United Nations resolution and would oppose any efforts to bypass direct negotiations and impose peace terms on Israel through the United Nations Security Council and other international bodies.

For decades, the United States has consistently opposed efforts to bypass direct negotiations and impose terms on Israel through the United Nations Security Council. As President Obama said to the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, “I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades… Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations… Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians, not us, who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them; on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.”

We strongly agree with this sentiment. Yet there are multiple efforts in the United Nations Security Council to set parameters for final status negotiations, effectively imposing terms on our ally Israel in matters that are vital to its security and national interests. We strongly urge you to make clear to all parties that the United States strongly opposes, and if need be will veto, any effort to bypass direct negotiations and impose peace terms on Israel through the United Nations. A failure to decisively announce that we will veto any resolution from the United Nations that dictates the peace process runs counter to decades of American foreign policy and only gives momentum to these counterproductive proposals.

The senators’ letter was prompted by Jordan’s UN Security Council resolution bill submitted yesterday that calls on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank by 2017.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been pursuing what Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President of Research for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has called the 194 plan, which consists of “diplomatic lawfare and unilateral maneuvers,” rather than negotiations with Israel. Abbas himself stated that this would be his strategy in an op-ed that was published in The New York Times in 2011, where he wrote that he would “pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice” if he didn’t get what he wanted through negotiations.

When Abbas addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September calling on the United Nations to impose an agreement on Israel, an editorial in The Washington Post blasted the speech as “bridge-burning.”

In pursuing efforts to impose an agreement on Israel, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority reject one of the premises of the peace process agreed to by the Palestinians to resolve “all outstanding issues relating to permanent status … through negotiations.”

[Photo: USSenLindseyGraham / YouTube ]