U.S. House Passes Resolution Threatening to Suspend Aid to Palestinians

Resolution 268 was voted in by a majority of 407 of 435 representatives, and calls for renewal of direct talks between Israel and Palestinians.

In an overwhelming majority, the United States House of Representatives passed Thursday night a resolution urging U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration to suspend financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority if its leaders push for a United Nations vote for unilateral recognition in September.

The resolution, which was passed by the Senate last week, was voted in by a majority of 407 out of 435 representatives, and calls for the renewal of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Congress members May 2, 2011

Resolution 268 was introduced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. Last week the Senate also called on Obama to use the U.S. power of veto to stop the potential UN vote.

The resolution was welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League, commending the members of Congress “for mobilizing a resounding message that the Palestinians cannot reject direct negotiations with Israel and embrace Hamas,” said Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

“Instead of reconciling with Israel, the Palestinian Authority has reconciled with Hamas, a terrorist, anti-Semitic organization sworn to Israel’s destruction,” they added. “The Palestinians need to take seriously the President’s warning that, ‘Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state.”

The resolution states that “Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued United States aid.”

Senator Ben Cardin, who initiated the resolution in the Senate, along with Senator Susan Collins, said that “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.”

The Senate resolution was co-sponsored by 87 Senators, and states the two-state solution as the official U.S. policy for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and also calls for a review of the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

It also calls for the Palestinian unity government to “publicly and formally forswear terrorism, accept Israel's right to exist, and reaffirm previous agreements made with the Government of Israel.”