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Palestinians disappointed after US House vote
Published Thursday 16/12/2010 (updated) 17/02/2011 21:46
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Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of the PLO negotiating team, speaks during
a briefing with journalists in the West Bank town of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem,
on Dec. 16, 2010. [MaanImages/Haytham Othman]

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO officials expressed disappointment Thursday over a resolution passed by the US House of Representatives condemning unilateral attempts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state.

"The Palestinian right to freedom and self-determination is not contingent on the approval of the state of Israel," the PLO mission to the United States said in an emailed statement.

"Members of congress who are truly concerned about the safety and security of Israelis should recognize that they will never be safeguarded until Palestinians gain their freedom and legal rights," it said.

Wednesday's House measure comes after Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, the boundaries before Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The resolution reaffirms the "strong support" in the lower chamber of the US Congress "for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states, a democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state."

The text also "reaffirms its strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians."

It urges Palestinian leaders to "cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process" and calls on foreign governments "not to extend such recognition."

In the West Bank, a member of the PLO negotiating team, Mohammad Shtayyeh, criticized the vote and questioned why the Americans did not take a harder line on unilateral Israeli measures.

"If America isn't in a position to oblige Israel into freezing settlements for 90 days, how will it convince us they're ready to begin decolonizing the West Bank?" he said at a briefing in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem.

Shtayyeh said the Palestinians nevertheless backed a strong US role in the peace process.

The EU on Monday stopped short of outright recognition of a Palestinian state despite mounting pressure to break the impasse, but did reaffirm its readiness to recognize it at an "appropriate" time.

Direct peace talks collapsed after Washington admitted it had failed to secure Israel's agreement to a new freeze on settlement building, the PLO's condition for continuing to negotiate.

US envoy George Mitchell earlier this week held two days of talks with Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas to try to find a way to keep the sides engaged in the search for peace.

The US focus is now on new ideas, with Mitchell proposing six weeks of "parallel" talks, where negotiators would hold separate talks with the Americans in a format which would not be viewed as "negotiations," a Palestinian official told AFP on Wednesday.

AFP contributed to this report.
1 ) Ashraf / USA
17/12/2010 00:03
There's an Arab saying that "If you have no shame do whatever you want". That's our US congress doing whatever they want because they have no shame. There shame is only eclipsed by the Palestinian negotiators who have no shame. When the PLO gave uo the resistance they gave up their rights.

2 ) Colin Wright / USA
17/12/2010 06:21
There are worse things than disappointment. You could be American -- then you'd feel embarrassed. America stands four-square against independence and freedom. Yup, that's what we were supposed to be all about.

3 ) Jerrold Cohen / USA
17/12/2010 07:43
What gets me is my representatives in Congress are worried about the survival of the most dangerous warlike state in the Middle East, Israel. Can't shake them loose. Jewish money has bought them so they won't let go of it.

4 ) Joseph Jamene / Israel
17/12/2010 09:38
The Palestinians in general and their leadership should understand the achievements made by the House of Representatives.

Such a resolution and common understanding from the highest establishement of The United States of America was far of a dream a decade Ago.The Israel-Palestinian conflict has taken a vital postion in American Public opinion,though It may not be a great factor in American General elections.

Both parties may appriciate the resolution as a gateway to realistic diplomacy.

5 ) Christopher / USA
17/12/2010 18:14
Re: #4 Joseph: Yeah, right. Most Americans just recognize that our politicians are bought and sold and don't care what their constituents think. These same clowns pass tax cuts for the uber-wealthy while the rest of us are threatened with persistent joblessness. This doesn't represent diplomacy -- it's pure commerce, of the worst variety.

6 ) John / USA
17/12/2010 18:18
Jerrold i doubt of your last name but Jews don't buy people with their money. It is know that the US shares the same values as Israel's. Even S.Arabia Egypt and moderate Arabs say it openly and know where danger is. Jordan should take responsibility and help all its citizens from wb.

7 ) R.W. / USA
17/12/2010 18:29
What's with this "Jewish" State of Isael?
Is that like the "Christian" Country of USA?
What a Crock!!!

8 ) asad @ Jospeh / USA
17/12/2010 18:58
Aware you aware of something called a "lame-duck" session? And are you aware that the powers of recognizing another state rest soley with the executive branch of government? I didn't think so.

9 ) marge / USA
17/12/2010 19:36
Palestinians should have anticipated the bias of the AIPAC controlled US Congress against them on behalf of Apartheid Israel, which has been US position for many decades. Nonetheless, Palestinians can still pressure the US and cronies to uphold their UN commitment to give the Palestinians a State, by persuading countries to recognize and publicly declare a Palestinian State on pre-1967 borders. The UN should give the Palestinians a State same as the UN gave Jews the state of Israel.

10 ) dan / usa
17/12/2010 20:41
Senate approves (or not) treaties. Congress funds the programs. President can recognize, but Senate and Congress do not have to go along.

11 ) Deborah / USA
17/12/2010 21:59
The US Congress is utterly predictable if inane in their actions. This is the some Congress that is screwing over the US public with extending tax cuts to the super-rich. If it can treat its own citizenry with contempt and concern only for campaign dollars, why would their attitude toward Palestinian rights be any different. The US Congress is a bought entity. It is Special Interests Land, whether it comes to domestic or foreign policy.

12 ) Joe Fattal / USA
17/12/2010 22:43
Israel do not control the US decision. Matter of facts Israel is the beneficiary in a fictional policy that US took after WW2. Israel is a welfare State, an insurance State, insure by the US that if anything happens to the so called State, their security, their survival, the US will come to their rescue. That is the price that the US is paying for not coming to the Jews rescue in WW2. Did anyone ever questioned why the US is arming Israel, I did, and I answered myself, how can I be wrong.

13 ) marge eyunee / usa
17/12/2010 23:09
oh here is the AIPAC I was looking for. is there any citation from the protocols of elders of zions coming?

14 ) marge / usa
19/12/2010 04:24
I have no doubt you can answer your own question if you so desire, especially since you found the AIPAC you were looking for.

15 ) marge / USA
19/12/2010 05:36
@dan, you are right that the Senate approves or disapproves treaties and Congress decides funding for program. However, the influence of Congress over the President cannot be overlooked because of Congress's power to fund or defund programs the Pres. and his party want. If the Pres. doesn't play ball with Congress, he will get few of his programs funded, if any at all.
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