Organizations in the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy send out action alerts monthly, focusing on different issues so that members of Congress hear consistently that their constituents support a just and lasting resolution to the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.
Many advocates urged President Obama in his final weeks in office to take firm action to stop Israeli settlements.
On December 23, the United States abstained from a vote on UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which highlighted and called for a halt to Israel’s settlement activity in occupied Palestinian territory.
Rather than supporting the United States’ action on this resolution – which is in keeping with U.S. policy on settlements– Congress has been working hard to undermine it. In early January the House passed its own resolution objecting to the UN Security Council resolution. The Senate has a similar resolution in the works.
Take action: Click here to tell your members of Congress to oppose all efforts to criticize, condemn, or undermine UN Securit Resolution 2334, and urge them to halt all efforts to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem outside a comprehensive peace agreement.
The UN Security Council resolution reaffirms that Israeli settlements are “a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle” to peace, calls on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory,” and stresses that the Security Council “will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.”
The resolution also calls for “immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians including acts of terror,” addresses other concerns including “incitement and inflammatory rhetoric,” and urges intensified efforts to achieve “without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace…” The U.S. abstention allowed the resolution to pass unanimously with the other 14 members of the Security Council voting in favor.
Of even greater concern, because it would carry the force of law should it pass, a Senate bill introduced on January 12, called the “Safeguard Israel Act” would stop US contributions to the UN “until the President certifies to Congress that United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 has been repealed.” Not only would this bill undermine the US and international effort to hold Israel accountable for its settlement activity, it would harm efforts across a broad spectrum of UN work that benefits the US and countries around the world.
In addition to the efforts to condemn or rescind UNSC 2334, a number of initiatives are underway in Congress to support quick action on moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move the new administration has been outspoken in supporting.
Outside a comprehensive peace agreement, such a unilateral move by the US could be dangerous. A presidential waiver has allowed each new president to stop this potentially volatile move from taking place, but new efforts in Congress would remove the waiver, paving the way for the US Embassy to be relocated to Jerusalem. At least one of these proposals related to the embassy’s location would also limit by 50 percent State Department fiscal-year 2017 allocations for security, construction and maintenance of other U.S. embassies.
Click here to contact your members of Congress now. Let them know you want them to support, not undermine, peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Let them know you oppose all efforts to criticize, condemn, or undermine USNC 2334, and urge them to halt all efforts to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem outside a comprehensive peace agreement.
For more on the ramifications of moving the U.S. Embassy, see "Moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem: A Hard Look at the Arguments & Implications," by Danny Seidemann.