* Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose Palestine's bid for statehood at the United Nations (U.N.) and to encourage the Palestinian leadership to pursue a peace agreement with Israel through direct negotiations, as they have demonstrated their willingness to do before.
* Lasting peace is possible only if an agreement is accepted by the Israeli and Palestinian people--it must not be forced on either side. I have continually shared this message with my colleagues in Congress and the international community, most recently by urging members of the European Union to stand with the U.S. and Israel in opposing Palestine's unilateral action at the United Nations.
* All citizen in the region deserve a peaceful and prosperous future and I am hopeful progress will be made. However, the U.S. will not ignore the serious security threat that faces Israel. The path to peace lies in working together, not exploiting differences. I will stand with Israel to support peace through direct negotiations and urge Palestine to embrace this approach.