Several Senate Democrats broke with President Obama and sided with President-Elect Donald Trump in a bipartisan rebuke of the administration’s decision to allow a controversial United Nations Security Council resolution dictating an end to Israeli settlements to pass Friday.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware and incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York issued statements Friday in which they rejected Obama’s support of the U.N. resolution.
The senators’ statements came the day after Trump called for a veto of the resolution that would put “Israel in a very poor negotiating position” and be “extremely unfair to all Israelis” in their dealings with Palestine.
“I urge the Obama administration to veto the United Nations resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building,” Manchin said in his statement. “I support two-party negotiations to reach agreement on any settlement issues, and this U.N. resolution is not the way to pursue peace between the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel.”
Blumenthal agreed, declaring the impending U.N. resolution would only serve to “undermine” any “productive discussions” between Israel and Palestine.
“Consistent with past policy, this administration must now veto this most recent misguided and one-sided attempt backed by the Palestinian Authority to isolate Israel and weaken the peace process,” Blumenthal said in his statement.
Schumer said he spoke privately with Obama and urged the president “in the strongest possible terms” to veto the resolution.
“I am strongly opposed to the U.N. putting pressure on Israel through one-sided resolutions. An abstention is not good enough. The Administration must veto this resolution,” Schumer said in a statement, adding that “the U.N. has long shown its anti-Israel bias.”
Coons called on Obama to veto the resolution because “it does nothing to advance peace or hope for a two-state solution.”
But Obama refused to heed the Senate Democrats’ words and chose to instead have the United States abstain from the vote and decline to exercise veto power.
The move is seen as a dramatic break from the United States’ longstanding history of defending Israel in the international arena.
“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Friday. “Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”
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