WASHINGTON – The US Senate passed a resolution late Tuesday threatening to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority should it seek a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN.
The non-binding resolution, sponsored by Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and co-sponsored by 88 of the body’s 99 other senators, passed by unanimous accord.
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The measure declares that the Senate “will consider restrictions on aid to the Palestinian Authority should it persist in efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by turning to the United Nations or other international bodies.”
It also calls on US President Barack Obama to veto any such UN proposal
and to lead an international diplomatic campaign against the Palestinian
In addition, the resolution urges the Obama administration to consider
suspending aid to the Palestinians in light of the recent unity
government agreement between Fatah and Hamas.
Should that deal be implemented, the resolution stated, current law
would prohibit the flow of US monies to the new government unless all
ministers accepted the right of Israel to exist and honored previous
agreements between Israel and the PA.
“The Senate has delivered a clear message to the international community
that United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state at this time
does not further the peace process," Cardin said in a statement. "A
permanent and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
can only be achieved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations."
Maine Republican Susan Collins, who joined Cardin in sponsoring the
resolution, warned that "any effort to seek unilateral statehood at the
United Nations will have serious consequences for future US aid to the
She added, “The road to peace is through negotiations, not subverting them and making a case before the United Nations.”
The US House of Representatives is soon due to consider a similar
resolution, proposed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. It currently has 289 co-sponsors,
or slightly more than half of the members of the House.
The Senate vote was warmly welcomed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Wednesday.