Menendez: Abbas Actions Would Force Re-Evaluation of U.S. Funding To Palestinian Authority

Menendez: Abbas Actions Would Force Re-Evaluation of U.S. Funding To Palestinian Authority

Washington - At a press conference today with Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Chris Coons (D-DE) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, said that if President Abbas moves forward with his plan to seek a UN resolution, "I will be obliged to re-examine all US funding provided to his government."

"If President Abbas insists on acting irresponsibly this week in New York, he will make clear that he does not value America's support and assistance to the Palestinian people and that Israel does not have a serious partner in the peace process," said Menendez. "My Senate colleagues and I, as we make difficult budget decisions in the months ahead, will have no choice but to re-evaluate the priority of U.S. taxpayer contributions to the Palestinian Authority," he added.

On Monday, Menendez signed on a letter to the President calling on him to "utilize the opportunity offered by your address at the United Nations to reaffirm and explain America's determination to stand by Israel at this difficult hour."

The full text of Senator Menendez remarks today follow:

"President Abbas has announced his intention to pursue UN Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state and membership status for Palestine in the United Nations. This unilateral approach to gaining sovereignty on the part of the Palestinian Authority is provocative, reckless and threatens to inflame passions throughout the region.

"As our UN Ambassador, Susan Rice has stated, 'There's no magic wand, there's no magic piece of paper, here or anywhere else. In order to achieve the creation of a Palestinian state with clear boundaries, with sovereignty, with the ability to secure itself and provide for its people, there has to be a negotiated settlement.'

"A UN Security Council resolution will not bring peace to the Palestinian people, it will not help to restart negotiations with Israel, and it will not bring any political advantage to the Palestinian Authority. President Abbas is leading his people down the wrong path with his shortsighted attempt to pre-empt the peace process and the Oslo Accords. The only way to achieve a true, lasting peace for the Palestinian people is through comprehensive negotiations and dialogue with Israel.

"Israel has negotiated in good faith with the Palestinian Authority and has removed its troops from the Gaza Strip and large areas of the West Bank. For all of its efforts to seek peace, what has Israel received in return: Missile attacks from Gaza and suicide attacks in its cities.

"Let me be clear, the United States is not simply an ally of the Israeli people, it's an ally of Israel's democratic ideals. It's an ally of its history, of its aspirations for peace and prosperity, its can-do spirit ad amazing resilience in the face of threats from all sides.

"President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have made clear that the United States will use its UN Security Council veto to stop any UN resolution that recognizes the state of Palestine. I fully endorse President Obama and Secretary Clinton's approach and urge them to use all diplomatic measures necessary to gain support from other nations in voting against such a resolution.

"I have personally contacted leaders throughout the western Hemisphere asking them to oppose President Abbas in his unilateral attempt to gain UN recognition and to avoid negotiating with Israel. In my letters to these leaders, I have underscored the importance of bilateral peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as the only way t bring about a two state solution. In particular, I have called upon Brazil and Colombia, as members of the UN Security Council, to vote against the resolution.

"Let me conclude by stating that as a United States Senator, assuming that President Abbas moves forward with his unrealistic plan to seek a UN resolution, I will be obliged to re-examine all US funding provided to his government. If President Abbas insists on acting irresponsibly this week in New York, he will make clear that he does not value America's support and assistance to the Palestinian people and that Israel does not have a serious partner in the peace process. My Senate colleagues and I, as we make difficult budget decisions in the months ahead, will have no choice but to re-evaluate the priority of U.S. taxpayer contributions to the Palestinian Authority

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