Hoyer-Cantor Statement on UN General Assembly Vote on Palestinian Non-Member Observer Status

For Immediate Release:

November 29, 2012

Contact:

Katie Grant (Hoyer), 202-225-3130, Megan Whittemore (Cantor), 202-225-7440

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor released the following statement today after the UN General Assembly approved non-member observer status for Palestine:

“We are deeply disappointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to seek symbolic non-member observer status through the General Assembly of the United Nations.  We have long believed the only way to achieve a two-state solution is through direct negotiations leading to a peace treaty fully accepted by both governments and both peoples.  We are concerned that today’s unilateral action by President Abbas represents a repudiation of the Oslo Accords and a setback for the peace process.  To be clear, non-member observer status puts the Palestinian people no closer to achieving statehood, and may in fact set back this goal by inflaming tensions and making already difficult negotiations even harder.

“The United States has for decades promoted peace between the Palestinians and Israelis and helped the Palestinian Authority improve security in the territories and build responsible institutions that can meet the needs of the Palestinian people.  While we remain committed to these goals, we are increasingly frustrated by President Abbas’ refusal to come to the negotiating table, his efforts to hide behind unprecedented preconditions for talks, and his provocative and unproductive effort to secure recognition in the General Assembly.  Should President Abbas continue down this path, we fear that America’s long-standing policies could be seriously tested.

“Our request of Palestinian leaders is straightforward: abandon terrorism, accept Israel's right to exist, and enter into good faith negotiations towards a two-state solution to the conflict.  We call on all nations who support a just and lasting peace to urge President Abbas to abandon unilateral acts that undermine the peace process and to return to the negotiating table.”

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