U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power
U.S. Ambassador Samantha PowerReuters

Samantha Power, the United States’ ambassador to the UN, on Tuesday said that the Obama administration continues to fight efforts to delegitimize Israel at the UN, reports The Associated Press (AP).

Power made the comments in a speech before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in response to comments from committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce.

Royce expressed concern over what he called the "UN's continuing anti-Israel bias," especially in the organization's human rights council, but he also expressed concern over recent comments by Obama regarding a re-evaluation of Washington’s policy towards Israel at the UN.

"More disturbing is that the Obama administration seems on the brink of discarding decades of bipartisan support of Israel against the UN onslaught," said Royce, a Republican, according to AP.

Shortly after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he would not allow a Palestinian state to be established on his watch,  Obama’s spokesman declared that the comments mean “we need to reevaluate our position in this matter, and that is what we will do moving forward."

Obama himself later declared in an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that Netanyahu’s comments would have “consequences”.

Power defended the administration, saying that "day in and day out, we push back against efforts to de-legitimize Israel at the UN, and fight for its right to be treated like any other nation."

Asked specifically if the U.S. would veto any UN resolution that forces or imposes a two-state solution on Israel, Power said it was "perilous to make blanket statements" about hypothetical scenarios, but that the U.S. would oppose any resolution that undermined Israeli security.

In March, the United States chose not to take the floor at a debate in the UN Human Rights Council, a notoriously anti-Israel forum where Washington has always defended Israel.

The move was widely viewed as a form of backlash against Israel, but the American ambassador to the UNHRC later clarified that the move was actually a show of support.

"Our non-participation in this debate underscores our position that Item 7 lacks legitimacy, as it did last year when we also refrained from speaking," he explained. "The United States strongly and unequivocally opposes the very existence of Agenda Item 7 and any HRC resolutions that come from it."