- Dems, Republicans in Congress press admin to oppose any action at UN on Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Lawmakers from both parties urged the administration on Wednesday not to support a resolution at the United Nations that seeks to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. In his opening statement during a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing, Ranking Member Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) told two State Department officials: “As we continue to work toward the goal of two states for two peoples, I would hope the administration will work to prevent any attempts to circumvent the direct negotiation process, which is the only way that peace can be achieved.” In an exchange with Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Anne W. Patterson, Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) pushed Patterson to “state unequivocally” that the U.S. “will not introduce, we will not support, that we will block, that we will veto any resolution at the U.N. Security Council that seeks to impose a two-state solution on Israel or that offers some artificial timeline for negotiations?” Patterson responded that without seeing the resolution, she could not say whether the U.S. would issue a such a veto. Ros-Lehtinen concluded, “This absence of an American voice saying that we will veto gives wind beneath the wings of the Palestinians to continue this unilateral statehood scheme.”
Moreover, 388 Democratic and Republican members of the House have signed onto a letter urging President Barack Obama “not to back any resolution at the United Nations that sets parameters for Israeli-Palestinian talks,” according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The Journal explained that this was something that the president has been contemplating. In the letter, members of Congress, including Reps. Deutch and Ros-Lehtinen and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), declared they are “deeply troubled by reports that one-sided initiatives may arise at the U.N. in the coming months” and that “[s]uch efforts dangerously hinder the prospects for resuming direct negotiations.” The lawmakers told the president that his “continued commitment to longstanding U.S. policy to veto one-sided U.N. Security Council resolutions remains fundamentally critical.”
The calls from Congress echo those made by former Secretary of State and current Democratic Party presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton in an interview with the New York Jewish Week last Friday. Clinton reiterated her opposition to a U.N. resolution, explaining that it is “not the venue” to try to reach a solution to the conflict because of the U.N.’s “terrible track record in addressing these issues.” The only way to achieve a peace is with negotiations “between the parties themselves,” she told the newspaper. In March at AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference, Clinton expressed this same view, stating, “And let me be clear — I would vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the U.N. Security Council.”
President Barack Obama has been “making one concession after another in response to Iran’s post-deal demands” in order to keep last summer’s announced nuclear agreement alive, former Clinton White House official Lawrence J. Haass wrote in an op-ed in the U.S. News and World Report on Tuesday.
America’s concessions on ballistic missiles and access to U.S. dollars not only mark reversals of long-articulated American positions, Haass wrote, but also serve “to expand Iran’s military capability, strengthen its economy and leave U.S. allies in the region feeling more abandoned.”
This continues a pattern of concessions that the administration made in order to reach the deal in the first place, such as discarding guarantees that the deal would include “anytime, anywhere” inspections. Haass, now a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, summed up the ongoing dynamic:
As the president and his team discarded these and other pledges during the many months of negotiations, they essentially mocked Obama’s promise to walk away from a “bad deal.” Now, in their post-deal maneuvering, they’re doing whatever they can to ensure that Iran doesn’t walk away.
The administration originally said that last month’s Iranian ballistic missile tests were a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, but later backed away from that statement. Haass also observed that the administration is moving towards allowing Iran to carry out transactions in dollars, a move that “would be signaling Western banks, which have long faced fines for doing business with Iran, that they should no longer worry about such things.”
The administration’s concessions to Iran have prompted bipartisan concern. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R – Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D – Md.), among others, have voiced opposition to further giveaways.
“That the administration is making post-deal concessions is bad enough,” Haass wrote. “That it’s doing so as Iran continues to prop up Syria’s brutal strongman, President Bashar Assad as it continues to send arms to the Houthi rebels in Yemen and as it just announced that it will beef up the power of its warheads, is even more galling.
Robert Bosch Venture Capital and the Flex technology accelerator Lab IX have joined a $10 Series A round in CropX, an Israeli provider of advanced adaptive irrigation technology currently in use on 20 American farms. CropX CEO Isaac Bentwich said the Tel Aviv-based company plans to use the strategic partnerships to accelerate product development and rapidly expand market reach. This week, CropX also unveiled a new version of its soil sensors that drastically reduces installation time from 20 minutes to four minutes. CropX’s proprietary science helps farmers better understand water usage across their fields. Its low-cost soil sensors can increase crop yields while cutting water usage by one third. Early adopters across the United States report significant water, manpower and cost savings, as well as gains in their yield from all major row crops. “CropX gives farmers a fast and simple way to know the exact water needs and best irrigation plan of different parts of each field. Its pay-as-you-go service model makes it easy for farmers to quickly test the platform, realize its value and scale across more fields, crops and farms,” said Jan Westerhues, investment partner at Robert Bosch Venture Capital. (via Israel21c)