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Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published May 16, 2011

SENATORS CARDIN, COLLINS INTRODUCE RESOLUTION OPPOSING PALESTINIAN EFFORTS TO SEEK UNILATERAL RECOGNITION AT U.N.



Resolution States that any Unified Palestinian Government Must Publicly and Formally Denounce Terrorism

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins, (R-ME) today introduced a resolution in the Senate that expresses opposition to Palestinian efforts to seek unilateral recognition at the United Nations and states its firm belief that any Palestinian unity government must publicly and formally forswear terrorism, accept Israel’s right to exist, and reaffirm previous agreements made with Israel.

The resolution also supports the position taken by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in April 2009 that the United States “will not deal with or in any way fund a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless and until Hamas has renounced violence, recognized Israel and agreed to follow the previous obligations of the Palestinian Authority.”

Senators Cardin and Collins introduced the resolution following the recent announcement that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have reached a unity agreement to govern the previously disputed territories. The resolution firmly states that the UN is not the right forum for a declaration of Palestinian statehood. Instead this should be done in peace negotiations, which Israel has always been willing to participate in, between Palestinians and Israelis.

The summary of the resolution is as follows:

“To reaffirm America’s commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. To reaffirm opposition to the inclusion of Hamas in a unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence. To declare that Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued US aid.”

The Full text of Resolution is below



RESOLUTION
Whereas the policy of the United States since 2002 has been to support a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict;

Whereas a true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties and acceptance of each other’s right to exist;

Whereas Palestine Liberation Organization Chair Yassir Arafat wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on September 9, 1993 that “all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations”;

Whereas the reconciliation agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas on May 4, 2011, was reached without Hamas being required to renounce violence, accept Israel’s right to exist, and accept prior agreements made by the Palestinians (the “Quartet conditions”);

Whereas Hamas, an organization responsible for the death of more than 500 innocent civilians, including two dozen Americans, has been designated by the United States government as a foreign terrorist organization and a specially designated terrorist organization;

Whereas Hamas kidnapped and has held Israeli sergeant Gilad Shalit in captivity in violation of international norms since June 25, 2006;

Whereas Hamas continues to forcefully reject the possibility of peace with Israel;

Whereas, by contrast, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

Whereas, on April 22, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “We will not deal with nor in any way fund a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless and until Hamas has renounced violence, recognized Israel and agreed to follow the previous obligations of the Palestinian Authority;

Whereas the United States has vetoed 11 UN Security Council resolutions in the last 15 years related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

Whereas United States Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, stated on February 18, 2011 that it was “unwise” for the UN to attempt to resolve key issues between the Israelis and Palestinians;
Whereas Palestinian leaders are pursuing a coordinated strategy to seek recognition of a Palestinian state within the UN, in other international forums, and from foreign governments;

Whereas, on March 11, 1999, the Senate adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 5, and on March 16, 1999, the House of Representatives adopted House Concurrent Resolution 24, both of which resolved that `any attempt to establish Palestinian statehood outside the negotiating process will invoke the strongest congressional opposition';

Whereas, current US law precludes assistance to a Palestinian Authority which shares power with Hamas unless that Authority publicly accepts Israel’s right to exist and adheres to all prior agreements and understandings with the United States and Israel;

Whereas the United States annually provides more than $550 million annually and more than $3.5 billion cumulatively in direct bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, who are among the world’s largest recipients of foreign aid per capita;
Whereas aid to the Palestinians is predicated on a good faith commitment from the Palestinians to the peace process;

Whereas Palestinian abandonment of the Quartet conditions and inclusion of Hamas in a government could jeopardize the positive steps the Palestinian Authority has taken in building institutions and improving security in the West Bank in recent years;

Whereas efforts to form a unity government without accepting the Quartet conditions, to bypass negotiations and unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, or to appeal to the United Nations or other international forums or to foreign governments for recognition of a Palestinian state, would violate the underlying principles of the Oslo Accords, the Road Map, and other relevant Middle East peace process efforts: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--
(1) reaffirms its strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states, a democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition;
(2) States its firm belief that any Palestinian unity government must publicly and formally forswear terrorism, accept Israel’s right to exist, and reaffirm previous agreements made with Israel;
(3) Reiterates its strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians;
(4) Urges Palestinian leaders to--
(A) ensure that any Palestinian government will seek peace with Israel;
(B) cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including through a unilateral declaration of statehood or quests for recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations or the UN;
(C) resume direct negotiations with Israel immediately and without preconditions; and
(D) take appropriate measures to counter incitement to violence and fulfill all prior Palestinian commitments, including dismantling the terrorist infrastructure embodied in Hamas;
(5) Supports the Administration's opposition to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and its veto on February 18, 2011 of the most recent United Nations Security Council resolution regarding a key issue of the Israeli-Palestinian process;
(6) calls upon the Administration to announce that it will ve