House Condemns U.N. Vote on Israel Settlements in Rebuke to Obama

The House on Thursday voted 342-80 to censure the United Nations Security Council for approving a resolution that condemns Israeli settlement activity on occupied Palestinian territory.

The vote also serves as a rebuke of the Obama administration, which refused to veto the resolution last month in a break of longstanding U.S. policy. The security council approved the measure in a 14-0 vote, with the United States abstaining.

The abstention was denounced by President-elect Donald Trump and congressional leaders of both parties. The House measure decries the U.N. resolution as “one-sided and anti-Israel,” and an “obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace.” Israel has been roundly criticized by the international community for the proliferation of settlements on Palestinian territory in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“The passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 contributes to the politically motivated acts of boycott, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel and represents a concerted effort to extract concessions from Israel outside of direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, which must be actively rejected,” the House resolution, which was introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), states.

In a speech defending the abstention last month, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.N. measure is aimed at “preserving the two-state solution.” 

“That’s what we were standing up for: Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living side by side in peace and security with its neighbors,” Kerry said in the official transcript of a speech delivered on Dec. 28. “That’s what we are trying to preserve for our sake and for theirs.”

A similar bipartisan measure rebuking the U.N. resolution was introduced in the Senate this week by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. It had 38 co-sponsors as of Wednesday.

In addition to the disapproval resolutions, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who chairs an appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over foreign operations, has vowed to “suspend or significantly reduce” federal funding to the U.N.

Correction

A previous version of this story misstated the number of senators co-sponsoring Rubio’s resolution.

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