The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), firmly denounced the decision made the United Nations General Assembly to elevate the status of “Palestine” (the Palestine Liberation Organization) to non-member observer state at the UN.
In a statement issued on the day of the vote, Nov 29, Cong. Ros-Lehtinen said that Mahmoud Abbas is not a partner for peace and that his action at the U.N. will “push peace with Israel even further away.”
The Florida Congresswoman said that the decision by Abbas to ignore the U.S.’s strongly-worded and repeatedly given advice that he not attempt to achieve unilateral goals through the U.N. rather than through negotiations with Israel, made “crystal clear” that Abbas and his compatriots “do not value their relationship with the U.S.”
In addition to withholding all U.S. funds for “Palestine” the committee chair also intends to pull U.S. funding for any U.N. agencies that grant membership to “Palestine,” as is required under U.S. law.
Cong. Doug Lamborn (CO-5), co-chair of the Republican Israel Caucus and the Israel Allies Caucus also issued a statement through email denouncing the U.N. shenanigans. He said that the action taken by Abbas could, “inflame tensions in the region and ultimately hurt their efforts to achieve statehood and a lasting peace.”
Lamborn also called for the cutting off of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority as the result of its effort to gain statehood outside of direct negotiations with Israel.”
Although the U.S. administration strongly opposed and voted against this measure at the U.N., Ros-Lehtinen also included a warning to the U.S. administration in her statement.
She said, “if the Administration again seeks to gut U.S. law and keep funding those reckless UN agencies, Congress’ response must be simple: No.”
Last year Abbas sought to gain full United Nations membership through the UN Security Council. That gambit was rebuffed by a threat by the U.S. to veto any such motion. However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization went ahead and recognized “Palestine” as a UNESCO state member. As a result of that decision, and in compliance with U.S. law, Congress cut UNESCO’s funding. However, after heavy congressional lobbying by the administration, the funding was restored in late April of this year through the implementation of a waiver.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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