4 senators urge Obama not to impose peace conditions on Israel

Marcy Oster

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Four senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him not to bypass direct negotiations and impose conditions on Israel in an effort to create a two-state solution.

The senators — Ben Cardin (D-Md.),  Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) — wrote in a letter Monday that while they are committed to a two-state solution that would keep Israel secure and ensure economic opportunity for the Palestinians, they are against efforts to let the United Nations and other international bodies impose the terms.

“The United States has been a stalwart defender of Israel against discriminatory actions at the United Nations,” the senators wrote. “We must remain firm in opposing actions that are designed to circumvent direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Using the United Nations to push Israel and the Palestinians to accept terms defined by others will only ensure that the parties themselves are not committed to observing these provisions,” they wrote.

“Our longstanding commitment to Israel transcends any one leader or government,” the senators added, alluding to the cool relationship between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. “We must make clear our willingness to use our veto power to block such efforts at the UN Security Council and our continuing defense of Israel at the United Nations Human Rights Council and other agencies where Israel is under constant assault.”

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Cardin is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Collins and Warner are on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Wicker is co-chairman of the United States Helsinki Commission.