Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called today’s vote in the United Nations on the status of the Palestinian delegation a “distraction from efforts to reignite direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
“While not unexpected, I am deeply disappointed by the vote in the United Nation’s General Assembly to change the Palestinian Authority’s status from ‘observer entity’ to ‘non-member observer state.’ This most recent political posturing by the Palestinian Authority is counterproductive. A permanent and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including designation of a Palestinian State, can only be achieved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. I strongly encourage the Palestinians to move beyond such procrastination and return to the negotiating table so that the peace process can get back on track.”
Just last week, Senator Cardin and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) sent a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opposing any unilateral attempts by the Palestinian Government at the United Nations General Assembly. The senators previously had led the Senate in unanimous passage of a resolution (S. Res. 185) that reiterated U.S. opposition to any unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. The resolution was cosponsored by 87 other senators and also opposed the inclusion of Hamas in any Palestinian unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence.