- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
- More than 3,500 police planned for Boston Marathon
- Ottawa day care suspends 2-year-old for ‘outside’ cheese sandwich
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to ‘man up’ in horse carriage fight
- Real-life Dr. Doolittle to reveal how to talk to animals
- Climate change could bring back smallpox, researchers say
- Shoe-bomb witness to speak from London at N.Y. trial
Palestinians gain U.N. status as ‘observer state’
U.S. lawmakers work on penalties
Palestinians won a victory on the world stage Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly voted to grant them enhanced status in the world body, but they could face a backlash in Washington, where lawmakers introduced legislation to kick them out of their diplomatic offices and to strip U.S. aid.
The 138-9 U.N. vote elevates Palestine to “non-member observer state” status, which could give it access to some international bodies, including the chance to take cases to the International Criminal Court.
Palestinian officials said the vote amounts to granting it a “birth certificate” signifying its validity as a state. Israel’s ambassador disputed that, saying it does not confer statehood, because the two Palestinian territories in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank do not meet the definitions of an independent country.
And the entire exercise was colored by the recent flare-up of violence that saw rockets shot from Gaza into Israel and Israeli military strikes in return in Gaza. That violence was halted late last week by a cease-fire.
“The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly, enough of aggression,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N., drawing standing ovations at the beginning and end of his address. His speech was peppered with charges of Israeli aggression in Gaza, where he talked of children “murdered” by Israeli forces.
The vote set off celebrations in the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to the Associated Press, which reported Palestinians setting off fireworks and honking car horns.
“There are no short cuts, no quick fixes, no instant solutions,” he said.
Mr. Prosor also said by voting to give Palestine enhanced status the U.N. is allowing Palestinians to break binding agreements that called for the two sides to resolve matters through direct negotiations.
“For the people of Israel, it raises a simple question — why continue to make painful sacrifices for peace, in exchanges for pieces of paper that the other side will not honor,” he said.
The U.S. and Israel voted against the move, as did Canada, the Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama. Another 41 countries abstained.
Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the vote does nothing to enhance prospects for average Palestinians.
“Today’s unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path to peace. That is why the United States voted against it,” she said.
In Washington, members of Congress took steps to try to punish the Palestinians for their move. A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to kick the Palestinian Liberation Organization out of its offices on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C., and to withhold U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority should it choose to take its complaints to the ICC.
“This is a provocative, unhealthy step that will undermine the peace process,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, who sponsored the amendment along with Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.
The ICC is a major point of contention. With its enhanced status, some analysts said Palestinians could now take cases against individual Israelis to the international tribunal, where they could be charged with war crimes stemming from the decades-long conflict.
The senators pushing legislation in Washington said they’ll seek a vote as part of the defense policy bill debate, which is taking place on the Senate floor.
The PLO office in Washington did not have immediate comment Thursday afternoon.
Withholding U.S. funds could amount to nearly $1 billion between 2012 and 2013.
Mr. Abbas is in a tough position. His faction controls the West Bank, but Hamas, which the U.S. identifies as a terrorist organization, controls Gaza. Mr. Prosor pointedly noted that Mr. Abbas cannot even travel to 40 percent of the territory ostensibly under his control as president.
Last year, he had threatened to make the same request, but backed down under pressure from President Obama and others.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CPAC 2014: Poll shows GOP discontent, Congress frustration
- U.S. has lost track of tens of thousands of foreign students who came study to then took jobs
- Border Patrol Chief: Agents can still shoot at rock throwers
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Border Patrol policy still permits agents to shoot at rock-throwers
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again