Mrs. LOWEY. I want to thank my good friend Mr. Deutch. You are a principled, strong supporter of the Israel-United States alliance for organizing this conversation at this very, very critical time, and I thank you very much. [Page: H6332] Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to the Palestinian Authority's counterproductive and dangerous gambit to declare statehood unilaterally through the United Nations.
As we all know, a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved through a negotiated settlement between the parties, themselves. A lasting peace cannot be imposed on Israel and the Palestinians by an outside country, like the United States, or an organization, like the United Nations. That is why it is so disturbing that the Palestinian Authority has chosen to discontinue direct negotiations with Israel and instead to pursue a unilateral declaration of statehood through the United Nations. This action will indisputably set back the prospects of a settlement between the parties and call into question the commitment of Palestinian leaders to genuine and lasting peace.
The Palestinian Authority receives more than $500 million in economic and security assistance from the United States each year because it is in our interest and that of Israel's to support the ability of the P.A. to provide security and basic services, but that assistance is predicated on the willingness of the Palestinian Authority to negotiate directly with Israel toward its own state. President Abbas has been warned repeatedly, and I remain firm, that this counterproductive action by the P.A.
crosses a line and should lead to a reevaluation of this assistance.
Despite the provocative decision of the Palestinian Authority to abandon negotiations and to pursue instead a unilateral declaration of statehood, I remain optimistic that the administration, working in concert with the Quartet, can facilitate the conditions for a resumption of good-faith negotiations.
I commend President Obama and Secretary Clinton for standing firm in support of a negotiated settlement and for reaffirming the unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States. I support the administration's tireless work to prevent a unilateral declaration of statehood from coming to a vote before the United Nations and to defeat this gambit if a vote does occur.
As President Obama stated today before the United Nations, peace is hard, but we also know that it is very much worth the effort. I encourage President Abbas to make the hard choice to return to negotiations with Israel. It is the only way to achieve the lasting and genuine peace that both Israelis and Palestinians seek.