There was significant focus on the United Nations last week as the Palestinian Authority aggressively sought to undercut the Middle East Peace process. In an effort to gain recognition as an independent state, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is attempting to muscle together a bare majority of support from member nations against the justified objections of Israel, the United States and our allies. I strongly believe the way forward to a two-state solution is not through unilateral action by either party. America must continue to stand with Israel this week at the U.N. and during future negotiations. We cannot lose sight of the real and daily threats that face Israel and her people.
In May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid out the terms and conditions to achieving a resolution before the Congress and the American people. As I said then and believe now, his leadership and voice are critical if a two-state solution is to be reached. A U.N. resolution recognizing a Palestinian state would silence that voice. Regrettably, Prime Minister Netanyahu has not had a reliable partner in President Obama.
Until last week, there has been a lack of clarity and certainty of the Obama Administration's policy to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. At the U.N., President Obama reasserted that Israel and the U.S. have long been close allies and that those regional issues that threaten Israel, threaten American interests. This was an appropriate and necessary reaffirmation in front of the world's leaders of our unwavering defense of their right to live free and, equally importantly, Israel's tenuous position in a hostile region.
That hostility was further demonstrated when Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke before the U.N. General Assembly, spewing his anti-Semitic hatred and questioning the historical events of the Holocaust and the September 11th attacks. For a man who has previously - and repeatedly - stated "Israel must be wiped off the map," his speech was nothing new. However, the United States must not become complacent to the real threats a nuclear Iran poses on our greatest alley in the region.
As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I am briefed regularly on the current state of Iran's nuclear facilities and President Ahmadinejad's ongoing nuclear efforts. I understand and strongly agree with Israel's legitimate concerns about a nuclear Iran. Already under daily attack from Hamas' mortars into Gaza and assaults on their foreign embassies, a constant fear looms large over the Israeli people. Israel has the absolute right to defend herself from violence against her people and threats against her sovereignty.
Make no mistake: the events last week in the U.N. have serious implications for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Should the U.N. circumvent direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority by approving statehood, the repercussions could lead to increased violence against the Israeli people, not less. It could lead to increased isolationism in the region, not more stability and cooperation. It could also lead to a weakened United States on the world stage.
I believe the U.S. should actively work with other nations, particularly those in the European Union, to finally resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by rejecting the unilateral actions of the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations. And, if necessary, the U.S. must exercise its veto power in the Security Council and cease foreign aid to Palestine. But most importantly, we must not dismiss the constant and growing threats against Israel, including those from Iran and Hamas. To do so would be to abandon our staunchest ally and strongest friend in a region where the U.S. has few of either.