Loretta Sanchez was wrong on H.R. 268, denying Palestine’s right to exist




In September 1947, after meetings with Zionist delegations in Palestine, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine recommended the partition in Palestine, a suggestion ratified by the UN General Assembly that stipulated the establishment of the state of Israel.

In September 2011 Palestinians will seek statehood at the UN. However, Congress has already decided that the US should block Palestine’s right to be free by demanding a veto should a resolution comes before the UN Security Council. And all our members of Congress in Orange County have voted in favor of a resolution that denies Palestine’s right to exist.

On June 13, I sent a letter to my representative in Congress, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, urging her to support the recognition of Palestine as an independent sovereign state. After two decades of failed negotiations, the Palestinians have decided to take the matter of statehood to the UN this September. Rep. Sanchez responded to my letter on August 3rd after she voted to support H.R. 268; a resolution that opposes Palestinian statehood without Israel’s blessings. In her response she wrote:

H.Res. 268 reaffirms the U.S.’s support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states; a democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a democratic Palestinian state, both existing in peace and mutual recognition.

Since the Oslo accords (the failed attempt to resolve the conflict in 1993), peace negotiations between Israel and Occupied Palestine have been deadlocked. Meanwhile Israel has expanded its illegal Jewish-only settlements that effectively appropriate 40% of West Bank land slated for a Palestinian state. Therefore, Palestinians have decided to gain recognition through a different route.

In recent months, Palestinians have successfully sought the recognition of individual countries including many in South America in an effort to generate pressure on Israel so that it understands that it can not continue with the policy of expanding settlements on Palestinian land. The goal is to gain membership in the UN General Assembly in September.

By a unanimous Senate vote and a 407 to 6 majority in the US House (all Members of Congress representing Orange County voted in favor), Congress demanded that Palestinian leaders cease efforts to unilaterally declare statehood or seeking recognition of a Palestinian state from the UN and other nations. It has also demanded that President Obama announce that the US will veto any resolution on Palestinian statehood that comes before the UN Security Council and oppose recognition of a Palestinian state by other nations prior to a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

The move to block Palestinian statehood by the US Congress is wrong. It further alienates the US from the Arab public that is hungry for freedom; a population that took matters into its own hands by rebelling against tyranny. And if the occupation continues, sooner or later Palestinians will once again rebel against it. If the US blocks the efforts of Palestinians at the UN this September, it will be on the wrong side of history.

About Rashad Al-Dabbagh

Arab American community activist based in Anaheim's Little Arabia. Founder/Director of the Arab American Civic Council. Follow him on Twitter at @Happy_Arab.