Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Western Hemisphere subcommittee, is lobbying countries to vote against Palestinian statehood recognition in the United Nations.
“I am contacting as many countries as I can speak with to tell them the U.N. resolution is destructive and awful and will not make peace, it will make peace talks more difficult,” Engel told JTA this week.
Engel had just returned from a trip to Israel with top officials from the Caribbean island nations of Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis. The officials met there with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Engel, who chaired the Western Hemisphere subcommittee from 2007-2011, has cultivated a number of the region’s leaders.
Israel has said that the Palestinian Authority effort to secure statehood recognition would set back the prospect for renewed peace talks.
The Obama administration has pledged to veto a statehood recognition resolution should it come to the Security Council. The Palestinians may also seek enhanced status short of statehood through the U.N. General Assembly, which began meeting in its 66th session on Tuesday.