Secretary of State John Kerry received a bipartisan request to stand with Israel and veto any United Nations Security Council resolution that imposes a “solution” on the Jewish state.
The Palestinians have drafted a resolution declaring a state and giving Israel two years to pull out of territory that the Palestinian Authority considers its own. On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki left the door open to a U.S. vote in favor of such a resolution, telling reporters today “we have to see what the details are.”
“There is a perception …that we have never supported any UN action related to Israel, and that is not true,” Psaki said. “We have supported a range of actions in the past. What we haven’t supported is steps that are unilateral actions that predetermine the outcome of negotiations.”
The draft was submitted to the Security Council on Wednesday by Jordan.
“We write to express concern about ongoing efforts to impose the terms of a peace agreement on our friend and ally Israel outside of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote to Kerry. “We urge you to make clear that the United States will veto any United Nations resolution and would oppose any efforts to bypass direct negotiations and impose peace terms on Israel through the United Nations Security Council and other international bodies.”
“For decades, the United States has consistently opposed efforts to bypass direct negotiations and impose terms on Israel through the United Nations Security Council,” the letter continues. “As President Obama said to the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, ‘I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades… Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations… Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians, not us, who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them; on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.'”
“We strongly agree with this sentiment. Yet there are multiple efforts in the United Nations Security Council to set parameters for final status negotiations, effectively imposing terms on our ally Israel in matters that are vital to its security and national interests.”
Graham and Schumer “strongly” urged Kerry “to make clear to all parties that the United States strongly opposes, and if need be will veto, any effort to bypass direct negotiations and impose peace terms on Israel through the United Nations.”
“A failure to decisively announce that we will veto any resolution from the United Nations that dictates the peace process runs counter to decades of American foreign policy and only gives momentum to these counterproductive proposals,” the senators added. “We thank you for your continued dedication to this issue and we look forward to supporting our government’s efforts to bring both parties back to the negotiating table without preconditions.”