WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today sent a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opposing any unilateral attempts by the Palestinian Government to pursue non-member state status at the United Nations General Assembly. President Abbas has announced that the Palestinian Authority will present its bid for non-member state status at the United Nations on November 29.
The Senators assert that “Palestinian statehood can only be realized as a result of a broader peace agreement negotiated with the Israelis, not through unilateral measures at the United Nations.”
The text of the letter to President Abbas is below:
November 21, 2012
His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian National Authority
Al Muqata’a, Ramallah West Bank
Dear Mr. President:
We write to express our deep concern over your stated intention to pursue non-member state status at the United Nations General Assembly later this month. Like President Obama, who has clearly conveyed to you his opposition to such a move at the UN, we believe that peace is better served by directly negotiating with Israel rather than by taking these types of unilateral actions.
As you know, in May 2011, we authored S. Res. 185: a resolution reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That resolution, which included 90 cosponsors, passed the Senate unanimously on June 28, 2011. We write to remind you of some of the key points of that resolution which we believe still are widely supported by the United States Senate.
S. Res. 185 reiterates strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians. It urges Palestinian leaders to ensure that any Palestinian government will seek peace with Israel; cease 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 UN; resume direct negotiations with Israel immediately and without preconditions; and take appropriate measures to counter incitement to violence and fulfill all prior Palestinian commitments. We remain firmly committed to these principles.
Should you decide, however, to bypass direct negotiations and unilaterally seek upgraded status at the UN, we want to again remind you of the potential for significant consequences. As S. Res. 185 notes, any such efforts may cause consequences in regards to U.S. policy and foreign aid.
We remain hopeful that Israel and the Palestinians can resolve their differences through direct negotiations. We call on your government to uphold its commitments in accordance with the Oslo Peace agreements of 1993 and 1995. Palestinian statehood can only be realized as a result of a broader peace agreement negotiated with the Israelis, not through unilateral measures at the United Nations.