Late Tuesday evening, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) led the Senate in unanimous passage of a resolution reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The resolution authored by Senators Cardin and Collins, which was cosponsored by 88 of their colleagues, also reiterated U.S. opposition to the inclusion of Hamas in any Palestinian unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence.
"The Senate has delivered a clear message to the international community that United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state at this time does not further the peace process. A permanent and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations," said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated publicly, including before Congress this May that he will accept a Palestinian state. It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say: "I will accept a Jewish state.' Mutual respect and security are the foundation for lasting peace through real negotiations that settle all outstanding issues to the satisfaction of both sides. It is in the best interest of all parties for there to be two states -- the Jewish State of Israel and independent Palestinian state -- living side-by-side with secure borders in peace."
"Our resolution sends a clear message to the Palestinian Authority that any effort to seek unilateral statehood at the United Nations will have serious consequences for future U.S. aid to the Palestinians. The goal should be a true and lasting peace between two states -- a democratic, Jewish state of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state. But the road to peace is through negotiations, not subverting them and making a case before the United Nations," said Senator Collins.