POLITICS

House Rebukes Obama, U.N. on Israel

Members of Congress, enraged over the Obama administration's in the United Nations, overwhelmingly passed a resolution Thursday supporting the U.S. ally.

The 342-80 vote calls on the United Nations to repeal with Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem a violation of international law. The Obama administration, breaking with decades of tradition, refused to veto the resolution and allowed it to pass with an abstention from the United States.

"Today we put Congress on record objecting to the recent U.N. Security Council resolution that hurt our ally, that hurt Israel, and I believe that puts an enduring peace her out of reach."

"Today we put Congress on record objecting to the recent U.N. Security Council resolution that hurt our ally, that hurt Israel, and I believe that puts an enduring peace her out of reach," House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said on the House floor.

The status of settlements on the West Bank -- and especially East Jerusalem -- long has been recognized as a major issue that would have to be worked out as part of any lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The resolution passed by the House maintains that the U.N. action undercuts Israel and dims the prospects for those long-sought negotiations.

"Honestly, given the many blunders from the Obama administration on the world stage, I guess this most recent action shouldn't be all that surprising," Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) said on the House floor. "But this action is one of the most irresponsible acts ever by an outgoing president. It will be a dark stain on an already disastrous legacy."

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) called Thursday's vote a "good start" but added more will have to be done to repair the damage.

"It is shameful that we abandoned our ally and emboldened the Palestinians, passively letting an anti-Israeli resolution pass the U.N. Security Council," he said in a statement. "We cannot continue to denigrate our Israeli friends and the only true democracy in the Middle East."

While offering moral support to a longtime ally, the House vote has little practical effect, even if the Senate passes its own resolution as expected in the coming days. The U.N. resolution -- itself non-binding -- cannot be overturned by Congress. And U.N. member states, stocked with Israel-haters, are unlikely to be swayed by the views of American politicians.

The resolution enjoyed strong bipartisan support. Majorities of both caucuses voted for the measure, and it had 105 co-sponsors -- including Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee.