Monday, May 21, 2018

Rep. Eliot Engel

Congressman Eliot Engel, the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s ranking member, was the original co-sponsor of H Res 684, which opposed the United Nations General Assembly’s vote on December 21, which objected to the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a show of bipartisanism, New Jersey Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer and Wisconsin Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher recently continued Engel’s work as the lead sponsors of this resolution.

“I’m glad to join Mr. Gottheimer, who’s brought important focus on this issue, which is very important to me and my constituents in the Bronx and Westchester,” explained Representative Engel. “The singular negative focus on Israel of certain UN member states distracts from the many challenges facing the world. The Security Council vote late last year will have no impact on where the United States chooses to place our embassies and at the same time degrades efforts toward a two-state solution. A Palestinian state will never be born on the backs of anti-Israel UN resolutions.”

Congressman Gottheimer stated, “The United States has a long and proud bipartisan history of standing with our ally Israel at the biased United Nations. In that tradition, our legislation objects to the UNGA resolution, highlights the UN’s long history of bias and anti-Semitism when it comes to Israel, and urges the General Assembly to repeal this harmful resolution.”

“Last January, Rep. Gallagher, Ranking Member Engel and I were proud to vote for H.Res.11, which condemned the UN Security Council’s appalling resolution singling out our ally Israel and damaging the prospects for peace,” Gottheimer continued.  

The General Assembly vote was called after the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, vetoed a similar, but potentially legally binding resolution in the UN Security Council earlier that month.

In a statement on the House floor in 2017, Engel stated, “Throughout its entire history, the state of Israel has never gotten a fair shake from the United Nations. Year after year after year, member states manipulate the UN to bully our ally Israel, to pile on with one-sided resolutions placing all of the blame for the ongoing conflict on Israel.”

Co-sponsor Gallagher declared, “For over 20 years, it has been US law to recognize the self-evident reality that Jerusalem is, and always has been, the capital of Israel. This resolution makes clear that the United States stands proudly beside our ally and will not shy away from asserting our rights as a sovereign nation.”

In addition to expressing opposition to the UN vote, this resolution affirms President Trump’s proclamation recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing “the relocation of the US Embassy as soon as practicable.” A call to repeal the UN vote was also included. Further, it “reaffirms that a sustainable peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will only result from direct, bilateral negotiations between the two parties, and cannot be imposed by international organizations such as the United Nations.”

H.Res 662 is another resolution that was introduced by Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) just after the Haley veto. That resolution is captioned: “Emphasizing disapproval of six anti-Israel United Nations resolutions and reaffirming United States support for the State of Israel and its people.”

 

 By Judy Berger

 

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