Israel

WATCH: Top Democrats Blast UN Resolution for Endangering Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Top congressional Democrats, including both the Senate and House minority leaders, have registered their objections to the Obama administration’s failure to veto an anti-Israel United Nations Security Council resolution at the end of December.

Hours before the Security Council voted on resolution 2334, which denounces Israeli presence in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, newly elected Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) stated that he was “strongly opposed to the UN putting pressure on Israel through one-sided resolutions.”

“An abstention is not good enough,” Schumer added. “The Administration must veto this resolution.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D – Calif.) called the resolution “troubling” in a statement released after the December 23 vote, adding: “The two-state solution has been the bedrock of peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians for decades. The resolution passed by the UN Security Council today does not bring us closer to this goal.”

Following Secretary of State John Kerry’s address on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on December 28, Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted in a statement that “more can be done to enable the viability of a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians are not willing and ready partners at this time.”

“I remain disappointed by the Obama Administration’s decision not to veto UN Security Resolution 2334 last week,” Cardin added. “Last week’s Resolution makes direct negotiations more, not less, challenging.”

House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D – Md.) similarly expressed his “deep concern” on the House floor when discussing a bipartisan congressional resolution condemning the Security Council’s vote and the Obama administration’s abstention. Hoyer warned that the “one-sided” UN resolution “sends the wrong signal and emboldens Israel’s and America’s enemies.”

“The United Nations is notorious for its disproportionate criticism of Israel,” Hoyer pointed out. “A one-sided resolution that assigns exclusive blame to Israel for the continuation of the conflict – without addressing Palestinian incitement of violence, Hamas control of Gaza, or their continued insistence [on] the so-called ‘right of return’ and refusing to accept Israel as the Jewish state – undermines prospects for a two-state solution.”

Also on the floor, Rep. Eliot Engel (D – N.Y.), Cardin’s counterpart on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, emphasized that the “shameful” UN resolution effectively calls Jewish presence at the Temple Mount and Western Wall a violation of international law, which is “deeply offensive to Jews.”

“The Kotel, the holy Western Wall, is simply not occupied territory, and it’s offensive to hear that,” Engel said, adding that members of Congress were “condemning what happened because we think it’s unfair and unjust”

Aaron Menenberg, the executive director of the Public Interest Fellowship, observed in The Tower on Tuesday that “a result of Obama’s approach to the conflict is the split it has caused in the Democratic Party over American support for Israel and its role in finding a resolution.”

“Centrist Democrats who condemned Obama over 2334 and continue to believe in the two-state solution are making arguments that not too long ago were overwhelmingly shared within the party,” Menenberg added. “However, the events of the last month, coupled with the rise of figures like Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison, who have both repeatedly stated that the U.S. is too pro-Israel, raise legitimate questions over whether the Democratic Party can retain its decades of support for both Israel and the two-state solution simultaneously.”

[Photo: Flickr ]