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Standing up for the U.S.-Israel relationship

Friday, September 30, 2011

Last week, during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) began the process to be recognized as an independent "state." The P.A. submitted a now-pending request to the U.N. Security Council for consideration. If the proposition does not pass the Security Council, the Palestinian leadership then may attempt to bring its efforts to the floor of the U.N. General Assembly for an up or down vote by all members.

The United Nations is on the verge of embarking on a dangerous path if it prematurely grants a de facto recognition to a Palestinian "state" and undermines the opportunity for peace and security between Israel and Palestine. Despite facing countless threats and absorbing daily rocket fire from terrorists who surround it, Israel continues to seek peace with its neighbors, including the pursuit of direct negotiations with the P.A.

Any possible two-state solution must come through these direct negotiations between Israel and the P.A., not by seeking a purely symbolic vote within the walls of the U.N. headquarters. When the vote reaches the Security Council, the United States would be right to veto it. If brought before the General Assembly, the measure should be rejected by every member state which recognizes the importance of a secure Israel.

In 2010, U.S. taxpayers paid the U.N. a record $7.7 billion without any incentive for the organization to reform. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration insists on continuing to pay dues to the United Nations no matter the policies the organization pursues. I recently co-sponsored legislation which would help safeguard taxpayer dollars and stop the U.N. from further undermining U.S. interests and our allies, including recognition of a Palestinian state.

H.R. 2829, the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act, would cut off U.S. contributions to any U.N. entity which grants membership or any upgraded status to Palestine. It would also condition contributions to the U.N. system on real reforms and seek to shift the funding basis of the United Nations' operating budget from being determined by the U.N. to voluntary contributions. A change in how the U.N. receives funds would empower the American people - not other countries or U.N. bureaucrats - to decide how much, if any, of their hard-earned money goes to the U.N. and on what it is spent.

Israel remains America's closest ally in the Middle East, providing an island of stability in one of the most volatile regions in the world. Since the Cold War, when Israel stood as a bulwark against Soviet proxies in the Arab world, the United States has valued our strategic relationship. Moving forward it is imperative we work to improve Israel's security and ensure the U.S.-Israel relationship -- built around shared values and concerns -- is strengthened.

For more information about this issue, the latest developments in Congress, or to sign up for my e-mail newsletter, please visit my website at http://adriansmith.house.gov.


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U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith
Washington Report