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Letter to the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, United States of America

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the administration to oppose a U.N. resolution that is being drafted by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in an effort to unilaterally dictate terms to Israel, enabling the PA to avoid direct negotiations.

Steering negotiations through the U.N., known for its hostility toward Israel, hurts the prospects of a Middle East peace agreement.

"A resolution of this nature would work against our country's consistent position, which has been that this and other issues linked to the Middle East peace process can only be resolved by the two parties negotiating directly with each other," Senator Gillibrand writes in her letter to Sec. Clinton. "Attempts to use a venue such as the United Nations, which you know has a long history of hostility toward Israel, to deal with just one issue in the negotiations, will not move the two sides closer to a two-state solution, but rather damage the fragile trust between them."

Senator Gillibrand is joined by 16 of her colleagues writing to Secretary Clinton, including Senators Schumer (D-NY), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Menendez (D-NJ), Crapo (R-ID), Moran (R-KS), Casey (D-PA), Johanns (R-NE), Snowe (R-ME), Collins (R-ME), Vitter (R-LA), Kyl (R-AZ), Barrasso (R-WY), Boozman (R-AR), Wyden (D-OR), Lieberman (I-CT) and Cardin (D-MI).

The Senators' full letter to Secretary Clinton:

January 18, 2011

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madame Secretary,

We are very concerned about reports that the Palestinian Authority is drafting a resolution intended for consideration at the United Nations Security Council regarding issues that have been and should continue to be pursued through direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, namely borders and settlements. We believe such a move hurts the prospects for a peace agreement and is not in the interest of the United States.

We strongly urge you to make clear that the United States will veto such a resolution if it is raised at the Council, and to clearly communicate United States' intent to do so to other Security Council members.

A resolution of this nature would work against our country's consistent position, which has been that this and other issues linked to the Middle East peace process can only be resolved by the two parties negotiating directly with each other. Between November 2009 and September 2010, the government of Israel imposed a settlement freeze as a goodwill gesture, yet the Palestinians refused to negotiate until the very last month. Attempts to use a venue such as the United Nations, which you know has a long history of hostility toward Israel, to deal with just one issue in the negotiations, will not move the two sides closer to a two-state solution, but rather damage the fragile trust between them.

We know you have a deep understanding of these issues and a heartfelt friendship toward one of our closest allies, Israel. That is why we urge you to clearly signal that the U.S. will veto this resolution, and to make it clear to the Palestinian Authority that it needs to sit down in direct talks with Israel, rather than pursue unhelpful resolutions at the United Nations. We stand ready to be helpful to you in this matter.


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