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Congressman: ‘Nothing’ Will Make Palestinians ‘More Conciliatory’ Toward Israel

WASHINGTON – Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) told PJM that “nothing,” including President Trump’s decision to delay moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, is going to make the Palestinians “be more conciliatory” toward Israel.

Trump, who pledged to move the embassy during the presidential campaign, decided not to order its relocation at this time.

"President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America's national security interests," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.

Lamborn said the embassy should not be “linked” to the peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

“I was sure hoping he was going to follow through and I'm disappointed that he signed a waiver. He hinted at the fact that he might be letting it go through the next time around or in the future, and I sure hope he does that. I think it's futile to refrain from doing the right thing in the hopes that it makes the Palestinians more willing to negotiate; they've unfortunately taken a hard line up until now and nothing will make them be more conciliatory,” he said.

“So let's just do what we have to do, let's just do the right thing. Let the chips fall where they will and then hopefully have negotiations with them in the future, but do not link the capital and the embassy to negotiations,” he added.

Lamborn argued that relocating the embassy to Jerusalem would actually help the peace process move forward.

“You can even make the argument that by showing strength and resolve to do the right thing, even though there will be an outcry, that strengthens the position of the U.S. and Israel to send a message that, ‘Hey you better start negotiating or the train is leaving the station,’” he said. “I don't see real hope for breakthroughs in the Middle East until the Palestinians have a change of heart and I don't know what would cause that.”

Lamborn said the ball is in the Palestinians’ “court” right now.

“They should show by their words and actions that they had a change of heart, willing to live with Israel as a Jewish nation, and until that day arrives we simply cannot keep pushing Israel to make more concessions that gives them less of a security buffer and should not be done,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently slammed the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement as a “deeply biased campaign aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish State” that needs to be defeated.

“There’s no greater example than this insidious effort to harm the Jewish State than through boycotts, divestment, and sanctions,” Schumer said. “The global BDS movement is a deeply biased campaign aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish State and its supporters, sometimes wittingly, sometimes unwittingly, but all of them practice a modern form of anti-Semitism, and we have to call them out for that.”

Lamborn shares Schumer’s position on the BDS movement.

“Well, the BDS movement, to me, is simply an excuse for anti-Semitism and should not be condoned in any way, shape or form. In fact, I've introduced legislation fighting the BDS actions on the part of companies out there,” the congressman said. “So this is one of those rare occasions where I will agree with Senator Chuck Schumer: we can't condone BDS in any way at all.”

Schumer encouraged other states to follow New York and pass anti-BDS laws. Lamborn agrees with states taking action against the BDS movement but wants Congress to do so as well.

“Sure, let's have states do the right thing, but it's most important that Congress does the right thing because that covers the whole country,” Lamborn said.