FCNL Thanks Rep. Ellison for Bold Support for Mideast PeacePDF Version
Representative Keith Ellison
1027 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Ellison,
I write to thank you for your September 22 op-ed in the New York Times calling on the United States to welcome the Palestinian bid at the U.N. for its commitment to nonviolence and multilateral diplomacy.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation shares your belief that rather than punish Palestinians for pursuing an international forum to address their right to self-determination, the United States should seize this initiative as an opportunity to press for a path that offers peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.
While FCNL has not taken a position on the Palestinian bid itself, we strongly oppose the Obama administration’s plan to veto the Palestinian application for U.N. membership. As you point out, the Palestinian leadership is following established international law and practice to pursue statehood recognition. The United States should not block the Palestinians from presenting their case at the international body empowered to mediate international conflicts and recognize statehood.
In our joint statement with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Quaker United Nations Office in New York (QUNO), we have called on the Obama administration to “use the U.S. voice and vote at the U.N. to welcome the use of nonviolent approaches rooted in international law to resolve conflict”.
We are also gravely concerned about retaliatory measures gaining momentum in Congress, including threats to cut U.S. development and humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. As your op-ed highlights, cutting U.S. aid to the Palestinians would undermine the security of Israelis as well as Palestinians, and would prove inimical to U.S. interests in securing a prosperous and stable Middle East.
Finally, FCNL concurs that direct negotiations in good faith are essential to resolving the conflict. The failure of U.S.-led negotiations to achieve any resolution has led to the current impasse of stalled talks, heightened tensions, and the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements. We are opposed to the use of violence by all parties, and will continue to press for robust diplomatic efforts rooted in international law.
FCNL, along with many of our constituents in Minnesota’s 5th district, are greatly appreciative of your bold leadership in support for nonviolent and multilateral approaches to a just and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.