Ben Cardin - Senator for Maryland

CARDIN, COLLINS LEAD SENATE DECLARATION AGAINST ANY PUSH FOR PALESTINAN STATEHOOD EXCEPT THROUGH DIRECT NEGOTIATIONS WITH ISRAEL

Print E-mail

Washington, DC – Late Tuesday evening, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) led the Senate in unanimous passage of a resolution reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The resolution authored by Senators Cardin and Collins, which was cosponsored by 88 of their colleagues, also reiterated U.S. opposition to the inclusion of Hamas in any Palestinian unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence.

 

“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. A permanent and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated publicly, including before Congress this May that he will accept a Palestinian state. It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say: ‘I will accept a Jewish state.’ Mutual respect and security are the foundation for lasting peace through real negotiations that settle all outstanding issues to the satisfaction of both sides. It is in the best interest of all parties for there to be two states – the Jewish State of Israel and independent Palestinian state – living side-by-side with secure borders in peace.”

“Our resolution sends a clear message to the Palestinian Authority that any effort to seek unilateral statehood at the United Nations will have serious consequences for future U.S. aid to the Palestinians.  The goal should be a true and lasting peace between two states – a democratic, Jewish state of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state.   But the road to peace is through negotiations, not subverting them and making a case before the United Nations,” said Senator Collins.

           

The text of the resolution follows and can be found at this link.


S.RES.185

Whereas the policy of the United States since 2002 has been to support a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; (Introduced in Senate - IS)

SRES 185 IS

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. RES. 185

Reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, reaffirming opposition to the inclusion of Hamas in a unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence, and declaring that Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued United States aid.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 16, 2011

Mr. CARDIN (for himself, Ms. COLLINS, Mr. THUNE, Mr. MENENDEZ, Mr. CASEY, and Mr. RISCH) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


RESOLUTION

Reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, reaffirming opposition to the inclusion of Hamas in a unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence, and declaring that Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued United States aid.

Whereas the policy of the United States since 2002 has been to support a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict;

Whereas a true and lasting peace between the people of Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties;

Whereas Palestine Liberation Organization Chair Yassir Arafat wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on September 9, 1993, that `all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations';

Whereas the reconciliation agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas on May 4, 2011, was reached without Hamas being required to renounce violence, accept Israel's right to exist, and accept prior agreements made by the Palestinians (the `Quartet conditions');

Whereas Hamas, an organization responsible for the death of more than 500 innocent civilians, including two dozen United States citizens, has been designated by the United States Government as a foreign terrorist organization and a specially designated terrorist organization;

Whereas Hamas kidnapped and has held captive Israeli sergeant Gilad Shalit in violation of international norms since June 25, 2006;

Whereas Hamas continues to forcefully reject the possibility of negotiations or peace with Israel;

Whereas, by contrast, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

Whereas, on April 22, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, `We will not deal with nor in any way fund a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless and until Hamas has renounced violence, recognized Israel and agreed to follow the previous obligations of the Palestinian Authority.';

Whereas the United States, under two different Presidents, has vetoed 11 United Nations Security Council resolutions in the last 15 years related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its outstanding issues;

Whereas United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice stated on February 18, 2011, that it was `unwise' for the United Nations to attempt to resolve key issues between the Israelis and Palestinians;

Whereas Palestinian leaders are pursuing a coordinated strategy to seek recognition of a Palestinian state within the United Nations, in other international forums, and from foreign governments;

Whereas, on March 11, 1999, the Senate adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 (106th Congress), and on March 16, 1999, the House of Representatives adopted House Concurrent Resolution 24 (106th Congress), both of which resolved that `any attempt to establish Palestinian statehood outside the negotiating process will invoke the strongest congressional opposition';

Whereas current United States law precludes assistance to a Palestinian Authority that shares power with Hamas unless that Authority publicly accepts the right of Israel to exist and adheres to all prior agreements and understandings with the Governments of the United States and Israel;

Whereas the United States Government provides more than $550,000,000 annually and more than $3,500,000,000 cumulatively in direct bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, who are among the world's largest recipients of foreign aid per capita;

Whereas aid to the Palestinians is predicated on a good faith commitment from the Palestinians to the peace process;

Whereas abandonment by Palestinian leaders of the Quartet conditions and inclusion of Hamas in a government could jeopardize the positive steps the Palestinian Authority has taken in building institutions and improving security in the West Bank in recent years; and

Whereas efforts to form a unity government without accepting the Quartet conditions, to bypass negotiations and unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, or to appeal to the United Nations or other international forums or to foreign governments for recognition of a Palestinian state would violate the underlying principles of the Oslo Accords, the Road Map, and other relevant Middle East peace process efforts: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) reaffirms its strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states, a democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition;

(2) states its firm belief that any Palestinian unity government must publicly and formally forswear terrorism, accept Israel's right to exist, and reaffirm previous agreements made with the Government of Israel;

(3) reiterates its strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between leaders in Israel and the Palestinians;

(4) urges Palestinian leaders--

(A) to ensure that any Palestinian government will seek peace with Israel;

(B) to cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including through a unilateral declaration of statehood or quests for recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations or the United Nations;

(C) to resume direct negotiations with the Government of Israel immediately and without preconditions; and

(D) to take appropriate measures to counter incitement to violence and fulfill all prior Palestinian commitments, including dismantling the terrorist infrastructure embodied in Hamas;

(5) supports the opposition of the President to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and the veto by the United States on February 18, 2011, of the most recent United Nations Security Council resolution regarding a key issue of the Israeli-Palestinian process;

(6) calls upon the President to announce that the United States will veto any resolution on Palestinian statehood that comes before the United Nations Security Council which is not a result of agreements reached between the Government of Israel and the Palestinians;

(7) calls upon the President to lead a diplomatic effort to oppose a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and to oppose recognition of a Palestinian state by other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between the Government of Israel and the Palestinians;

(8) 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;

(9) supports the position taken by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on April 22, 2009, that the United States `will not deal with or in any way fund a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless and until Hamas has renounced violence, recognized Israel and agreed to follow the previous obligations of the Palestinian Authority';

(10) urges the President to consider suspending assistance to the Palestinian Authority pending a review of the unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas; and

(11) reaffirms the requirement under United States law precluding assistance to a Palestinian Authority that shares power with Hamas unless that Authority and all its ministers publicly accept the right of Israel to exist and all prior agreements and understandings with the Governments of the United States and Israel.

###

Newsletter Sign-up