The two South Florida congressional representatives at the top of the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee came out swinging at a UN proposal calling Israeli development over disputed territory “illegal.”
The UN proposal was sponsored by Egypt and incoming President Donald Trump has called on the Obama administration to veto it. Trump touched base with Egyptian leaders on Thursday and, later in the day, the vote on the proposal was postponed.
Trump was joined on Thursday by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the subcommittee.
“While this destructive and discriminatory anti-Israel resolution should have never been offered in the first place, I am glad to see that Egypt did the right thing and postponed the vote,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “If a similar measure is offered again, the Obama administration must stick with longstanding U.S. policy and veto any UN Security Council resolution that isolates and undermines our partner and ally, the democratic Jewish state of Israel. Allowing this resolution to pass would only serve to embolden the Palestinian Authority’s attempts to achieve unilateral statehood and will damage any prospects for a negotiated peace. Congress has made it abundantly clear that the only way forward is through direct negotiations, and any action that the Security Council may take against Israel will be met with an appropriate response.”
Ros-Lehtinen was joined by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee. Despite being on other sides of the aisle, Ros-Lehtinen and Deutch have often teamed up on Middle Eastern issues.
"Once again, I urge the administration to veto this one-sided resolution that will do nothing to further peace efforts,” Deutch said on Thursday. “As 393 of my colleagues and I stated unambiguously in a letter to President Obama in April, the UN Security Council is not the venue for advancing conditions for peace. Achieving a lasting and permanent solution with two states for two peoples will only come through direct, bilateral negotiations between the parties."
Back in April, Deutch rounded up almost 400 representatives to sign a letter to the White House urging President Obama "to continue to insist that it is only at the negotiating table – and not at the UN – that the parties can resolve their complicated differences.” In the letter, Deutch urged Obama to show a “continued commitment to longstanding U.S. policy to veto one-sided UN Security Council resolutions remains fundamentally critical."
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