House Leaders Urge Obama to Veto UNSC Settlements Resolution


WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. House of Representatives leaders urged President Obama to veto a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution that slams Israel on settlements and urges a return to direct Israeli-Palestinian talks.

"We are deeply concerned about the Palestinian leadership’s decision to reject the difficult but vital responsibility of making peace with Israel through direct negotiations, and instead to advocate for anti-Israel measures by the United Nations Security Council and other international forums," says the letter sent Thursday.

The letter was initiated by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and signed by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority leader, and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on Ros-Lehtinen’s committee, as well as the lead congressmen on its Middle East subcommittee.

"We respectfully request that the Administration continue and increase pressure on the Palestinian leadership to return, immediately and unconditionally, to direct negotiations with Israel," the letter says, "continue and increase pressure on the Palestinian leadership to cease pursuing anti-Israel measures in international forums; declare that Palestinian failure to take these steps would have significant negative consequences for United States policy towards the Palestinians; and pledge in response to this letter to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution that criticizes Israel regarding final status issues."

The resolution in question, reportedly drafted by the Palestinian delegation, does not address final status issues and urges a return to direct talks.

The Obama has said it opposes the resolution but has not said it will veto it. The Anti-Defamation League on Friday urged the administration to make public its intention to veto the resolution.