Sen. Udall’s Amendment Criticizing Settlements Rejected
WASHINGTON– The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Resolution 6 on Thursday, and it will head to the Senate floor for a vote at a later time. The Senate measure blasts United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334, which assailed Israel for its continued settlement construction.
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced an amendment to the bill yesterday, which added a line, “reaffirming that it is also the policy of the United States to discourage settlement building.” Seven Democrats supported the revision including Tim Kaine (VA) and Cory Booker (NJ). Notably, Booker “received more money from pro-Israel donors than any other Democratic candidate in the 2014 election cycle,” according to NJ.com. Nonetheless, the amendment failed to pass as the other members of the committee including three Democrats — Robert Menendez (NJ), Ben Cardin (MD) & Christopher Coons (DE) — joined the remaining eleven GOP members on the committee to oppose the provision.
The Udall amendment also called for removing a section of the original bill noting that the Obama Administration’s decision not to veto UNSC 2334 was “inconsistent with long-standing United States policy.” The New Mexico legislator noted the dozens of UNSC resolutions passed since 1967 that condemned Israel, including during the Reagan and George H. W. Bush Administrations. The text remains in the bill given the bipartisan majority on the committee in favor of it.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) rejected Udall’s text since he noted that the last time that the United States abstained from vetoing a UNSC resolution specifically on settlements was in 1980—during the end of President Jimmy Carter’s term. Therefore, he argued that 37 years would be an appropriate usage of the term “longstanding.”
The Senate leadership will decide when to bring Res. 6 for a full Senate vote, as of now an undetermined date. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rubio sponsored the resolution that received 67 cosponsors. The text “rejects efforts by outside bodies, including the UNSC, to impose solutions from the outside.” A similar House resolution castigating the UNSC already passed last week by a 342 to 80 vote including Republican and Democratic members.
“We have violations of the Iranian agreement, and the UNSC cannot deal with it. We have land being taken in the South China Sea and the UNSC cannot deal with it,” said Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) at the hearing’s conclusion. “And yet, this (Israel resolution) with applause is what the UNSC deals with. You’ve got major issues with this institution.”