Yesterday the House spent an hour “debating” a resolution condemning efforts to gain support for a Palestinian state via the UN General Assembly, and demanding that the Palestinians negotiate on Israel’s terms. (It is worth noting that UN recognition of Israel came as a result of a vote by the UN General Assembly, not by negotiation.)
The “debate” consisted mostly of condemnations of the Palestinian leadership and unqualified support for Israel as a theocratic religious state.
Rep. Ron Paul explained why he voted against the measure:
Mr. Speaker I rise in opposition to this resolution. While I certainly share the hope for peace in the Middle East and a solution to the ongoing conflict, I do not believe that peace will result if we continue to do the same things while hoping for different results. The US has been involved in this process for decades, spending billions of dollars we do not have, yet we never seem to get much closer to a solution. I believe the best solution is to embrace non-interventionism, which allows those most directly involved to solve their own problems.
This resolution not only further entangles the US in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, but it sets out the kind of outcome the United States would accept in advance. While I prefer our disengagement from that conflict, I must wonder how the US expects to be seen as an “honest broker” when it dictates the terms of a solution in such a transparently one-sided manner?
In the resolution before us, all demands are made of only one side in the conflict. Do supporters of this resolution really believe the actors in the Middle East and the rest of the world do not notice? We do no favors to the Israelis or to the Palestinians when we involve ourselves in such a manner and block any negotiations that may take place without US participation. They have the incentives to find a way to live in peace and we must allow them to find that solution on their own. As always, congressional attitudes toward the peace process in the Middle East reveal hubris and self-importance. Only those who must live together in the Middle East can craft a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.