(JTA) — A bipartisan slate of 88 senators urged President Barack Obama to veto any “one-sided” U.N. Security Council resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We urge you to continue longstanding U.S. policy and make it clear that you will veto any one-sided UNSC resolution that may be offered in the coming months,” said the letter sent Monday and spearheaded by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D.
Israeli officials in recent months have expressed concern that Obama would use his final months in office to advance his vision of a final-status arrangement. One avenue for such a bid would be the Security Council. The letter was sent a day before Obama was set to address the U.N. General Assembly.
“Any such resolution, whether focused on settlements or other final status issues, will ultimately make it more difficult for Israelis and Palestinians to resolve the conflict,” said the letter, which was backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The Obama administration has vetoed or otherwise prevented throughout its two terms all Security Council resolutions on the Israeli-Arab conflict not favored by Israel, a record unmatched by its predecessors.
Among the 12 senators who did not sign were four who sought their parties’ nomination for the presidency this year: Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky on the Republican side, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats.
Cruz in a statement said he rejected the language in the letter’s opening that “the only way to resolve the conflicts between the two is through direct negotiations that lead to a sustainable two-state solution with a future state of Palestine living in peace and security with Israel.”
Rubio in a statement suggested that the letter did not emphasize enough that the Palestinians were at fault for the impasse.