In one of its first votes in the new session of Congress, the House of Representatives has scheduled a Thursday vote on a bipartisan resolution condemning the United Nations Security Council resolution that criticized Israeli activities in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The bill is co-sponsored by both parties’ leaders in House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Ed Royce (R – Calif.) and Ranking Member Eliott Engel (D – N.Y.), and has a bipartisan roster of 51 co-sponsors. The resolution condemns UN Security Council Resolution 2334 for, among other things, “effectively stat[ing] that the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, are ‘occupied territory.'”
The UN resolution could have been vetoed by the United States, which instead chose to abstain, allowing the resolution to pass the Security Council 14-0. The House resolution argued that the UN resolution’s passage “undermined the long-standing position of 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, reversing decades of bipartisan agreement,” “undermines the prospect of Israelis and Palestinians resuming productive, direct negotiations,” and would likely contribute to “politically motivated acts of boycott, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel.
Engel’s counterpart on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), partnered with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Wednesday to introduce a parallel resolution in the upper chamber. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) were among the cosponsors.
“When it comes to the U.S.-Israel alliance, we believe that senators of both parties must stand firmly with Israel and condemn efforts to undermine Israel’s legitimacy,” Rubio said upon introducing the bill. “This resolution expresses the Senate’s rejection of continued anti-Israel efforts at the United Nations, reiterates our commitment to Israel, and urges the incoming administration to work with Congress on this issue.”
“I am deeply disappointed that the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 2334, which is a one-sided text that makes direct negotiations for a two-state solution more challenging. Our Senate Resolution sends the message that the U.S.-Israel partnership is ironclad,” Cardin stated. “Going forward, Congress will take action against efforts at the UN or beyond that use Resolution 2334 to target Israel. I hope that in 2017 we can look at policies and actions that facilitate resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and I stand ready to support productive efforts.”
[Photo: House Foreign Affairs Committee / YouTube ]