The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed bipartisan legislation urging President Barack Obama to oppose or veto anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations before he leaves office.
The resolution, approved by voice vote, calls on 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.” It also calls on Obama to reject any resolution that sets ‘parameters’ for a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
“There is a growing concern in Congress that despite established, bipartisan United States policy, the Obama Administration may end the practice of vetoing resolutions in the Security Council that strayed from the principal that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties,” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce’s (R-CA) said on the House floor before the vote.” U.S. policy has long and wisely been that only Israelis and Palestinians can work out a peace agreement between themselves, and that efforts to impose one would be counterproductive.”
Following the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, “Republicans and Democrats agree that a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations. Today, the House urged the Obama administration to forcefully oppose any unilateral moves by the UN to impose a solution to the conflict. These efforts, which almost always place disproportionate pressure on Israel, only push the parties further apart and undermine the cause of peace.”
“I’m proud to be part of a broad, bipartisan coalition in Congress that stands up for our ally Israel and works to ensure that Israelis have the support they need to pursue a secure peace that will bring safety and opportunity to all people in the region,” House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said in a statement.
In an Op-Ed published by the New York Times on Tuesday, former President Jimmy Carter called on Obama to recognize an independent Palestinian state at the UN before leaving office. “I am certain that United States recognition of a Palestinian state would make it easier for other countries that have not recognized Palestine to do so, and would clear the way for a Security Council resolution on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Carter wrote. “The Security Council should pass a resolution laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict. It should reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, expressed his hope that the president will stick to his prior commitments to veto one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Security Council.
“I expect that in the twilight of President Obama’s tenure he will stand by what he said in 2011, that the way to achieve peace does not run through Security Council resolutions, but rather direct negotiations with the Palestinians, which has been the US position for years,” Netanyahu said during a memorial ceremony on Mount Herzl for soldiers killed in the 1956 Sinai campaign on Monday.
Also on Tuesday, the House unanimously approved legislation introduced by Reps. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) to strengthen collaborative cybersecurity research and development efforts between the United States and Israel. The two bills were introduced in July, after the lawmakers returned from a congressional delegation trip to Israel that focused on key cybersecurity issues facing both countries.
The “United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act” will create a cybersecurity grant program for joint research and development ventures between Israeli and American companies, and the “United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act” expands a successful research and development program conducted jointly by the Department of Homeland Security and the Israeli Ministry of Public Security.
“Cybersecurity is national security, and enhancing joint research and development efforts between the United States and Israel will improve our countries’ ability to deter malicious cyber actors,” said Ratcliffe. “I’m glad the House passed these bills to amplify the work already being done to tackle the growing cyber threats we both face, and I’m hopeful this legislation will serve as a solid foundation for a sustained cybersecurity partnership as we look to address new and evolving cyber issues moving forward.”