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      US Senate Opposes PA Statehood Bid

      The US senate passed a resolution saying the Obama administration should cut funds to the PA, cast veto, if it seeks statehood at the UN.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 6/29/2011, 9:04 PM / Last Update: 6/30/2011, 12:15 AM

       

      The US senate on Wednesday passed a resolution to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority should it pursue its bid unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN.
       
      The non-binding resolution, sponsored by Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and co-sponsored by 88 of the body’s 99 other senators, passed unanimously.
       
      The measure declares that the Senate “will consider restrictions on aid to the Palestinian Authority should it persist in efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by turning to the United Nations or other international bodies.”
       
      The PA last Friday announced it would seek a declaration of statehood at the United Nations "no matter what."
       
      The senate resolution also called on US President Barack Obama to veto any such UN proposal and to lead an international diplomatic campaign against the PA effort.
       
      In addition, the resolution urges the Obama administration to consider suspending aid to the PA in light of the recent unity government agreement between Fatah and Hamas.
       
      Should a unity government be formed, the resolution stated, current law would prohibit the flow of US monies to the new government unless all ministers therein accept the right of Israel to exist and honor previous agreements between Israel and the PA.
       
      “The Senate has delivered a clear message to the international community that United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state at this time does not further the peace process," Cardin said in a statement. 
       
      "A permanent and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations," the statement added.
       
      Maine Republican Susan Collins, who joined Cardin in sponsoring the resolution, warned that "any effort to seek unilateral statehood at the United Nations will have serious consequences for future US aid to the Palestinians.”
       
      “The road to peace is through negotiations, not subverting them and making a case before the United Nations," she added.
       
      The US House of Representatives is soon due to consider a similar resolution, proposed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. It currently has 289 co-sponsors, or slightly more than half of the members of the House.
       
      Senate and House resolutions on foreign policy are non-binding out of constitutional necessity as foreign policy remains the perogative of the executive branch.
       
      On Wednesday the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan announced it would opposing the PA bid for statehood at the United Nations.