Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal
WASHINGTON – Add the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the list of contentious issues the U.S. House and Senate are grappling with in the early days of the 115th Congress.
And count New Mexico’s own lawmakers as among those at least somewhat divided on the issue. All three House members were critical of last month’s U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s settlements policy, but the state’s senators voiced support for the Obama administration’s position that allowed the condemnation to go forward.
After fiery speeches from both sides of the aisle on Thursday, the House voted 342-80 to condemn the United Nations Security Council for its official criticism of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – even though the U.S. did not oppose it.
Obama’s representative at the U.N., Samantha Power, raised her hand to abstain from the Security Council’s vote on Dec. 23, allowing its condemnation of the Israeli settlements to gain formal approval. The abstention – instead of a veto – angered Israel and many in Congress, who characterized it as a slap in the face of America’s longtime ally in the Middle East, and damaging to U.S.-Israeli relations.