Vote Explanation for H.Res. 11 — Objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and for other purposes

For decades, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has endured despite the efforts of leaders on both sides and throughout the world to find peace. Undeniably, actions taken by both sides throughout this long, sad history have contributed to making peace more difficult to achieve. These include the continued expansion of Israeli settlements and the continued Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens, to name just two. When evaluating any action on the conflict, from military operations to political resolutions, it is critical to keep this broader context in mind: neither side is innocent despite their professed pursuits of peace.

The recent United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC Resolution 2334), from which the United States abstained, is an example of a one-sided view of the conflict. Although it rightly criticizes the continued expansion of Israeli settlements, it gives no mention to the continued, and recently intensified, violence by Palestinians and terrorists against innocent Israeli citizens. Biased or one-sided resolutions like this only move us further away from the shared goal of reaching resolution between the parties of this two-sided conflict.

That is why I voted for House Resolution 11, disapproving of the UN resolution. H.Res. 11 rightly emphasizes that the only path to a lasting peace between the Israeli and the Palestinian people is a durable two-state solution where both sides can safely live side-by-side. Violence must cease.

I also reaffirm my belief, shared by a number of prominent Israeli voices, foreign policy experts, legal scholars, and successive U.S. administrations, including the Obama administration, that the continued expansion of settlements is detrimental to the cause of peace. Settlement construction is an attempt to alter the facts on the ground to the point where a reasonable two-state arrangement is more and more difficult to achieve. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been clear, calling his government “more committed to settlements than any in Israel’s history.”

Furthermore, in yet another disturbing foreign policy move, President-elect Trump has appointed several senior officials who do not support long-standing efforts, supported by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, towards a two-state solution.

I call upon the Trump administration to take the cause of peace far more seriously than it has to date. Under President Obama, the U.S. has concluded a $38 billion memorandum of understanding that exceeds any military assistance package the U.S. has provided any country, and has strengthened critical missile defense, counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation programs. Furthermore, the Obama administration’s record supporting Israel at the United Nations has been stronger than any previous administration, both Republican and Democrat. This was the first time the Obama administration declined to exercise a veto on a UN Security Council resolution critical of Israeli actions, whereas administrations since 1967 have together voted for or abstained from more than 50 such resolutions.

As a Marine infantry officer, I also know the importance of providing civil security as the basis for making political progress in a conflict zone first hand. This is why I have and will continue to support U.S. security assistance to Israel through my role on the House Armed Services Committee. I will also continue to support the U.S. Security Coordination Mission that seeks to train and better enable the Palestinian Authority to more effectively police their own territories.

Through these and other measures, I will continue to support efforts to achieve this elusive peace however I can. The Israeli and Palestinian people deserve nothing less.