Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement today on the reports that the U.S. has offered to support a Security Council Presidential Statement on Israeli settlements in order to avoid having to decide whether to veto the pending UN Security Council draft resolution to the same effect. Her statement reads as follows:
Support for this anti-Israel statement is a major concession to enemies of the Jewish State and other free democracies. It telegraphs that the U.S. can be bullied into abandoning critical democratic allies and core U.S. principles.
Palestinian leaders refuse to negotiate directly with Israel, while Israel has made unprecedented concessions and continues to repeatedly offer to negotiate anywhere, anytime. Responsible nations should be heralding Israel’s commitment to achieving peace and security, not giving credence to the relentless campaigns by anti-democratic forces to deny that commitment.
Offering to criticize our closest ally at the UN isn’t leadership, it’s unacceptable. Pretending that criticism of Israel is OK if it comes in a ‘Presidential Statement’ instead of a resolution isn’t leadership, it’s unacceptable. Twisting and turning and tying yourself in knots to avoid using our veto to defend our allies and interests isn’t leadership, it’s unacceptable.
The Administration should change course, stand unequivocally with Israel, and publicly pledge to block any anti-Israel UN Security Council action.
Ros-Lehtinen’s press release notes that, on January 27, 2011, she and five fellow senior members of Congress (House Majority Leader Eric Cantor; House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer; Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Howard L. Berman; and U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot and Gary L. Ackerman, the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia) sent a bipartisan letter to the president requesting that the administration veto the UN Security Council draft resolution criticizing Israel.
The press release states that they have yet to receive a response to the letter.