Congressmen Against Premature Recognition of Palestinian Statehood

The US House of Representatives has unanimously adopted a non-binding resolution opposing any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. The resolution was introduced by Howard Berman, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. It is critical of Palestinian efforts to push the international community to recognize a state and states that "true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties."

The text calls on the Obama 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."

Ealier this week, EU foreign ministers also rejected the immediate recognition of Palestinian statehood. Several Latin American countries had said they would recognize a Palestinian state in the borders that existed prior to the 1967 Six Day War.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was discussing on Thursday with key ministers of his Cabinet a new proposal by the US Middle East envoy George Mitchell aimed at restarting indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians. According to the French news agency AFP, Mitchell suggested that the US hold separate but "parallel" talks with both sides, for a period of six weeks. A Palestinian source told AFP Mitchell had proposed that the US conduct bilateral talks with each side, rather than any direct peace negotiations.

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