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Congress & the Middle East:
Senate Resolution Opposing Unilateral Declaration of a Palestinian State

(March 16, 1999)


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In March 1999, the Senate passed Concurrent Resolution 5 (non-bindng) asking President Clinton to oppose any unilateral declaration of an independent Palestinian state. The motion passed 98-2 - Sen. Robert Byrd [D-WV] cast the sole vote against while Sen. Patty Murray [D-WA] was absent. A similar resolution was passed by the House on March 16 by a vote of 380-24. The text of the Senate resolution follows:

106th CONGRESS

1st Session

H.CON.RES. 5

Expressing congressional opposition to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and urging the President to assert clearly United States opposition to such a unilateral declaration of statehood.

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing congressional opposition to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and urging the President to assert clearly United States opposition to such a unilateral declaration of statehood.

Whereas at the heart of the Oslo peace process lies the basic, irrevocable commitment made by Palestinian Chairman Yasir Arafat that, in his words, 'all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations';

Whereas resolving the political status of the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority while ensuring Israel's security is one of the central issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

Whereas a declaration of statehood by the Palestinians outside the framework of negotiations would, therefore, constitute a most fundamental violation of the Oslo process;

Whereas Yasir Arafat and other Palestinian leaders have repeatedly threatened to declare unilaterally the establishment of a Palestinian state;

Whereas the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state would introduce a dramatically destabilizing element into the Middle East, risking Israeli countermeasures, a quick descent into violence, and an end to the entire peace process; and

Whereas, in light of continuing statements by Palestinian leaders, United States opposition to any unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood should be made clear and unambiguous: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That--

(1) the final political status of the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority can only be determined through negotiations and agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority;

(2) any attempt to establish Palestinian statehood outside the negotiating process will invoke the strongest congressional opposition; a

(3) the President should unequivocally assert United States opposition to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, making clear that such a declaration would be a grievous violation of the Oslo accords and that a declared state would not be recognized by the United States.


Sources: Library of Congress

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