WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution on Thursday opposing unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

The resolution introduced by Howard Berman, a Democrat representing California and Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, slams Palestinian efforts to push the international community to recognize a state in this way. In Berman's view, "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." The American pro-Israel lobby J Street issued a statement 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 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."

Earlier this month, Brazil announced its recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, responding to a request from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Brazil was followed by Argentina and Uruguay, who also announced their intention to support the declaration of a Palestinian state.