Prominent South Florida Democrats oppose U.N. resolution on Israel
Three of South Florida’s members of Congress opposed the U.N. Security Council resolution last month that condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation” of international law.
The resolution passed 14-0 on Dec. 23 because President Barack Obama had the U.S. abstain during the vote. If Obama had used the U.S. veto power in the Security Council, the resolution wouldn’t have passed.
U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch of West Boca, Alcee Hastings of West Delray and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, are all Democrats who have strongly supported Obama during his presidency. Wasserman Schultz was his hand-picked chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee for more than five years.
Hastings’ statement was the most pointed of the three in its direct criticism of the Obama administration.
Wasserman Schultz issued a statement opposing the resolution before the vote and this one after:
“I condemn in the strongest of terms the United Nations Security Council's passage of this one-sided, anti-Israel resolution, as well as the United States' reckless abstention. As a Member of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, I opposed this resolution because our nation has consistently supported direct, bilateral negotiations as the only viable method to achieve a lasting peace. In fact, this irresponsible action moves us further away from peace and hastens the likelihood that we lose the trust of our allies around the world.
“Let me be clear: the only way to resolve this conflict is - and will always be - through direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. It is baffling and unacceptable that the Obama Administration would abstain on this blatant attempt to internationalize this conflict and perpetuate the U.N.’s atrocious and biased record against our only true and dependable ally in the Middle East, the State of Israel. Simply put, today's vote did nothing to bring us any closer to a lasting peace. Instead, it has accomplished just the opposite.”
Deutch, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, issued this statement before the vote:
"Once again, I urge the Administration to veto this one-sided resolution that will do nothing to further peace efforts. As 393 of my colleagues and I stated unambiguously in a letter to President Obama in April, the UN Security Council is not the venue for advancing conditions for peace. Achieving a lasting and permanent solution with two states for two peoples will only come through direct, bilateral negotiations between the parties."
In April, Congressman Deutch led a letter to President Obama, urging him "to continue to insist that it is only at the negotiating table – and not at the UN – that the parties can resolve their complicated differences. Your continued commitment to long standing U.S. policy to veto one-sided UN Security Council resolutions remains fundamentally critical."
After the vote, Deutch issued this statement:
"This resolution passed by the UN Security Council does not take us closer to peace between Israel and the Palestinians nor does it make two states for two peoples more likely. That's why I am so disappointed that the United States did not veto it today."
Hastings wrote this after the vote:
“The Obama administration’s abstention at the United Nations today is extremely troubling. It is irresponsible and reckless for the United States to have gone against its long standing policy to veto one-sided, biased resolutions that undermine efforts to bring us closer to a two-state solution.
“We can only achieve a lasting and permanent solution with two-states by direct and bilateral negotiations between the parties. Unfortunately, this dangerous resolution will only encourage the Palestinians to avoid dialogue with Israel in the future.
“Just hours before this resolution’s adoption, an Israeli man was stabbed in an act of terrorism – just one of hundreds of recent acts of terror carried out in Israel over the past year. And, just like it has so many times before, the international community remained silent. Staying silent only encourages further terror, which is why I introduced resolutions earlier this year condemning Palestinian terrorism and calling on the United States’ representative to the United Nations to veto absurd resolutions like the one adopted tonight.
“With the adoption of this destructive and irresponsible resolution, the United Nations has once again acted to isolate and delegitimize Israel. The United States’ actions were completely unacceptable, and I stand in strong opposition to the administration’s reckless decision.”
The resolution said Israel's settlements in lands the Palestinians want to include in their future state have "no legal validity." It demanded a halt to such activities for the sake of "salvaging the two-state solution." Loud applause erupted in the council chamber after U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power permitted the resolution to pass.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.