As many as 88 U.S. senators on Monday signed a bipartisan letter urging President Barack Obama to veto any “one-sided” United Nations Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the coming months.
The letter, initiated by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), and also signed by Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, cites Obama’s 2011 General Assembly address in which he said, “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations.”
“Even well-intentioned initiatives at the United Nations risk locking the parties into positions that will make it more difficult to return to the negotiating table and make the compromises necessary for peace,” the senators assert. “The United States remains an indispensable trusted mediator between the parties, and we must continue to insist that neither we nor any other outsider substitute for the parties to the conflict.”
There are speculations that the president may refocus his attention after the November elections on the failed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations by outlining his own parameters on a future peace deal or by supporting a UNSC resolution.
According to Aaron David Miller, an American Middle East analyst and Vice President for New Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, having protected Israel’s back on security by recently signing the new 10-year MOU, it is more likely that the administration would decide to push ahead with a peace initiative.
Donald Trump winning the presidency on November 8th would make it more likely for Obama to support a Security Council resolution, former Ambassador and Mideast envoy Dennis Ross said on Sunday. “I suspect that if Trump wins, the president would be more inclined to go for a Security Council resolution to try to do something that binds, creates standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo,” Ross said at a conference on the future of Zionism and the US-Israel relationship in Palo Alta. “If Clinton wins, I suspect he would be more sensitive to her concerns as to whether this helps or hurt her.”
But the senators implored Obama to continue longstanding U.S. policy and make it known publicly that he will veto any “one-sided UNSC resolution that may be offered in the coming months.”
“The only way to resolve the conflicts between the two is through direct negotiations.”
Republican Senator Marco Rubio told Jewish Insider, “The fact that U.S. Senators must plead with an American president to not abandon Israel at the United Nations is a disturbing sign of how much the Obama Administration has undermined our alliance with Israel. I join my colleagues in hoping President Obama does not break from our country’s longstanding tradition of supporting Israel at the U.N., but I reject any notion that Israel is at fault in the current impasse with the Palestinians. Israel is America’s closest ally in the Middle East and has made good faith efforts to pursue peace. However, Israel does not currently have a viable partner for peace. Palestinian leaders continue to incite violence against innocent Israelis even as they seek to elevate their cause at the U.N. It is Palestinian leaders, not Israeli leaders, who stand in the way of the peace all Israelis and Palestinians deserve. The U.N. has long been a platform for anti-Semitism and hostility toward Israel, and anyone trying to use the U.N. to resolve this conflict is not making a good faith effort to achieve peace, and not pushing a solution that deserves U.S. support.”
Gillibrand Letter to Obama by Jake Korn on Scribd