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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Congress opposes unilateral PA moves - and J Street is upset

From Ha'aretz:
The United States House of Representatives unanimously on Thursday approved a resolution opposing unilateral declaration of Palestinian state.

The resolution introduced by Rep. Howard Berman, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, slams Palestinian efforts to push the international community to recognize a state in such a manner as "true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties."

The resolution calls on the U.S. administration to "deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any resolution by the United Nations Security Council to establish or recognize a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated by the two parties."

It also urges Palestinian leaders to "cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians… and calls upon foreign governments not to extend such recognition."
And which purportedly pro-Israel group opposed the resolution?
The pro-Israel lobby J Street issued a statement on Wednesday criticizing Berman's resolution, saying "it addresses only one issue standing in the way of peace."

In the statement, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said that the resolution continued "a pattern in which overly one-sided resolutions are introduced and moved to the floor of the House without an adequate opportunity for debate, discussion and modification by the Members."
The irony gets better. From JPost:
While Palestinian spokesmen such as Yasser Abed Rabbo were taking a hard-line public position on the talks, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, in a teaser for an interview on Channel 2 to appear over the weekend, said the Palestinians were not going to go to the UN seeking international recognition, nor would they revert to violence if the negotiations did not work out.

Asked if he was willing to make a clear statement that no matter what happens, he would not turn to the UN for a unilateral declaration of statehood, Fayyad said, “What we are looking for now... is a state of Palestine.

We are not looking for yet another declaration of statehood.

Remember, we had one,” he said, in reference to Yasser Arafat’s declaration of statehood in 1988, a declaration since recognized by around 100 countries.
It seems that J Street is more pro-"Palestinian" than the PA prime minister!

(h/t Lenny, Jim)