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Lawmakers Call on Obama Administration to Veto 'Anti-Israel' U.N. Resolution

A bipartisan group of top-ranking lawmakers is calling on the Obama administration to veto an "anti-Israel" resolution being pushed by Palestinian leaders at the United Nations

In a letter to President Obama, House Republican Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer joined other officials in claiming the proposed resolution was "without merit" and should be publicly condemned. 

"Instead of negotiating directly with Israel to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict, Palestinian leaders continue to seek to circumvent the negotiating process," they wrote. "Mr. President, the passage of this resolution would simply isolate Israel and embolden the Palestinians to focus on further such pyrrhic victories, immeasurably setting back prospects for achieving real peace." 

The lawmakers urged the administration to oppose the resolution "publicly and strongly, including through the use of our veto at the United Nations Security Council." The United States is one of five veto-wielding, permanent members on the Security Council. 

"The Palestinian Authority must be reminded that any path towards statehood must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians, not imposed," the lawmakers wrote. 

Palestinian leaders submitted the resolution last week. It would condemn Israel's settlement activity and call for construction in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem to stop. 

While the United States has not said whether it would veto the proposal, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed disappointment in it last week. 

"The only way that there will be a resolution of the conflict ... is through a negotiated settlement," she said, according to AFP. "Therefore, we don't see action at the U.N. or any other forum as being helpful in bringing about this desired outcome." 

The letter sent Thursday to Obama was signed by Cantor; Hoyer; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtninen, R-Fla.; Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif.; Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio; and Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y. 

Ackerman had earlier voiced concern with the resolution after the liberal Jewish lobbying firm J Street put out a statement calling on the Obama administration not to veto the measure if it comes up for a vote. 

The group said it was not endorsing the resolution and preferred diplomatic action, but that the resolution is in line with U.S. policy since it condemns Israel's ongoing settlement activity. 

"The resolution introduced in the United Nations Security Council this week condemns Israel's ongoing settlement activity and calls on both parties to continue negotiating final status issues in an effort to resolve the conflict in the short term. These are sentiments that we share and that we believe a majority of Jewish Americans and friends of Israel share," the group said. 

Ackerman, who is Jewish, afterward said he did not want to be associated with J Street anymore.