Congressman André Carson Statement on UN Security Council Resolution on Israeli Settlements
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a resolution condemning the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution on Israeli Settlements. Congressman André Carson opposed the resolution and released this statement:
“Last month, the United States abstained from a vote in the United Nations Security Council which condemned Israel for its settlement activities in the West Bank, effectively allowing such a resolution to pass. Today, I opposed a measure in the U.S. House of Representatives that objected to this decision because I believe these settlements are illegitimate and a major barrier to peace.
“I am, and will always remain, a friend to Israel. I have regularly supported security assistance, business partnerships, and cultural exchanges with Israel. Innocent Israeli families, like all people, deserve to live in peace without fear of terrorism and violence. I firmly believe that it is in our best national interest, and the interest of the international community, to maintain a secure, prosperous, democratic Israel.
“I am also an unwavering friend to the Palestinian people. Millions of innocent Palestinians live with the reality of an occupation that limits their movements, opportunities, and access to the modern world. Like all people, they deserve a state to call their own, where they can build their own society and pursue their own future. It is in our national interest to help lay the groundwork for bilateral negotiations between Israel and Palestine to achieve a two-state solution.
“It is time for us to distinguish between our support for the Israeli and Palestinian people, and the actions of their governments. First and foremost, this means condemning the terrorism of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists. There is never an excuse or justification for indiscriminate violence, which make a lasting peace unachievable. But we must also be willing to level criticism against the policies of the Israeli government for detrimental policies. Under the Netanyahu government, many settlements in Israel have expanded to tens of thousands of residents and are still growing, in contravention of international law. These are cities, not temporary outposts, located squarely within the Palestinian West Bank. They stir unrest in Israel and Palestine, and they are a physical obstruction to a negotiated settlement. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, not the United States, must ultimately resolve this issue. But if we want to achieve peace, we have a responsibility to speak out against continued growth of these settlements.
“The American abstention in the United Nations Security Council is a break from a long tradition of vetoes to defend our staunch ally. Rather than signaling a degradation in our friendship, it indicates a final push for peace by the Obama Administration. Both the Palestinians and Israelis must stop taking actions that spur ill will, distrust, and fear amongst the populace, making a two-state solution less achievable. And, the United States must stop protecting them when they do.
“For me, this issue is, at its core, not about religion or politics. It is about the people living in Israel and Palestine who fear for their lives and their children’s futures. They did not ask for this conflict and have little say in its outcome, yet they live everyday under its shadow. They deserve better and we should not use our U.N. veto to stand in the way.”