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Public Statements

Letter to the Ambassadors of 81 Countries

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) wrote to Permanent Representatives from 81 countries to the United Nations to oppose a unilateral attempt by the Palestinians to declare statehood at the UN later this month. The 81 countries, from every corner of the world, are the likely "swing states" (out of 193 total UN member states) that are not firmly decided on the issue. Sherman, the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, asked the UN ambassadors not to support this pending resolution, but to "cast a vote instead for the principle of peace through negotiations."

Similar letters were sent from other members of Congress.

The Congressman warned that Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood unilaterally through a UN resolution could have dire consequences for the Middle East peace process. "This unilateral move violates the all-important principle that the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through negotiations leading to a peace treaty fully accepted by Israel and the Palestinian Authority," said Sherman in the letter. "The move also violates many existing agreements and understandings between the parties not to act unilaterally."

Calling attention to the negative consequences of a Palestinian statehood resolution in the UN, Sherman emphasized the negative impact it could have on Palestinians. "This resolution threatens to create instability and violence on the ground by creating exaggerated expectations among the Palestinians that cannot be fulfilled," said Sherman. "Development aid to the Palestinian Authority from donor nations could be compromised, potentially reversing recent gains by the Palestinian economy."

Sherman also noted that most members of the House of Representatives oppose the Palestinian plan at the UN. H.Res.268, a bipartisan resolution that passed the House July 7, 2011, by a vote of 407 to 6, opposes any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians. The resolution states that Palestinian efforts to circumvent direct negotiations with Israel will harm U.S.-Palestinian relations and will have implications for assistance programs for the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"Together with the vast majority of my colleagues in the United States Congress, I believe this [pending UN] resolution could have immensely damaging repercussions for the Middle East peace process and above all for the Palestinians themselves," said Sherman.

Read Congressman Sherman's Full Letter:

September 13, 2011

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing to you to ask you to oppose a unilateral attempt by the Palestinians to declare statehood at the United Nations later this month.

Together with the vast majority of my colleagues in the United States Congress, I believe this resolution could have immensely damaging repercussions for the Middle East peace process and above all for the Palestinians themselves.

This unilateral move violates the all-important principle that the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through negotiations leading to a peace treaty fully accepted by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The move also violates many existing agreements and understandings between the parties not to act unilaterally.

The government of Israel has repeatedly accepted the need for a two-state solution -- a Palestinian and a Jewish state living side by side as good neighbors. But the Palestinians refuse to negotiate.

This resolution threatens to create instability and violence on the ground by creating exaggerated expectations among the Palestinians that cannot be fulfilled. It could destabilize the finances of the Palestinian Authority, putting Palestinian economic progress in jeopardy and throwing thousands back into poverty. Development aid to the Palestinian Authority from donor nations could be compromised, potentially reversing recent gains by the Palestinian economy.

Additionally, the Palestinian leadership has indicated that the resolution will include reference to the so-called Palestinian "right of return." This means endorsing the right of some 6 million Palestinians (some 200,000 surviving refugees from 1948, plus their descendants) to flood into Israel, thus destroying Israel's identity as the Jewish national homeland. And since there are no adequate records, any Arabic-speaking person could claim to be eligible for this supposed right of return.

For all these reasons, I am appealing to you not to support this pending resolution, but to cast a vote instead for the principle of peace through negotiations.

Sincerely,

BRAD SHERMAN

Full List of Nations whose Ambassadors Received Congressman Sherman's Letter:

Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herezovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Timor-Leste, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Sweden, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Zambia


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