House restates US support for direct Israel-Palestinian negotiations

The House restated US support for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the same position held by Israel and rejected by the Palestinians. 

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bipartisan-supported resolution that reaffirms US support for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to ensure a genuine and lasting peace agreement.

Introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), the resolution reaffirms the US government’s long-standing opposition to attempts by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to impose a unilateral solution which would circumvent face to face talks.

The bill, H.Con. Res. 165, states that “it is the long-standing policy of the United States Government that a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only come through direct, bilateral negotiations between the two parties,” and that “efforts to impose a solution or parameters for a solution can make negotiations more difficult and can set back the cause of peace.”

This stance expressed by the House corresponds with the one expressed repeatedly by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called on the Palestinians time and again to sit down for direct negotiations with Israel with no preconditions, and who has stated he is willing to meet Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas at any time and in any place.

The Palestinians have so far refused such negotiations while demanding preconditions for any talks, and are actively seeking an international resolution that would forcefully impose a settlement on Israel that could endanger its national security and hinder its international standing.

In February, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki  openly declared the Palestinians will never again negotiate directly with Israel.

The bill also states that any international recognition of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood outside of the context of a negotiated peace agreement would cause severe harm to the peace process and would likely trigger the implementation of penalties under provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 regarding limitations on assistance to support a Palestinian state and uses of funds for assistance to the PA.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News