The United Nations this afternoon approved "nonmember observer state" status for the Palestinian Authority.
The measure was OK'd 138-9, with the U.S. and Canada voting against the proposal.
In response, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, quickly called the move a mistake.
“Today’s decision by the United Nations General Assembly to grant enhanced status to the Palestinian Authority is a mistake that will set back – not hasten – prospects for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians," said Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.
“A genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through a negotiated settlement between the parties themselves. Rather than engaging in these direct negotiations, it is disturbing that the Palestinians have chosen instead to undertake unilateral measures through international organizations," Lowey said. “It is in our interest and that of Israel to support the Palestinian Authority’s ability to provide basic services through economic and security assistance, but that is predicated on the willingness of the Palestinian Authority to negotiate directly with Israel. I have encouraged the Administration to use all diplomatic tools at their disposal, monetary or otherwise, to make our opposition to such unilateral steps clear, and to encourage the Palestinian Authority to return to direct meaningful negotiations with Israel.”
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, called the vote a "harmful distraction."
“Today's political theater at the United Nations is a harmful distraction from achieving true peace and stability between Israel and Palestine," Gillibrand said. "The only credible path for a two-state solution is through the negotiating table. The United States has made clear to the Palestinians and to others around the world that we stand with our ally Israel at this time of grave risk and insecurity. I urge Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to do everything in his power to block the Palestinians from access to the International Criminal Court.”
Congressman Eliot Engel condemned the United Nation's vote.
“I would like to see a two-state solution where a state of Palestine would live peacefully next to the state of Israel," Engel said. "But, this is not the way to get there. In fact, making Palestine a “nonmember observer state” outside of bilateral negotiations with Israel places the cart before the horse and eliminates the incentives for the Palestinians to engage in any type of dialogue with Israel."
“Indeed, the international community has its incentives for the Palestinians totally backwards," Rep. Engel stated. "Hamas shoots thousands of rockets at Israel and gets visits and legitimization from the international community. The Palestinian Authority is unwilling to engage in dialogue to reach a compromise with Israel and becomes a non-member observer state. Rewarding these actions is like putting the car in reverse and stepping on the gas."