Moran plans Senate rebuke of Obama, U.N. on vote calling for Israel to halt settlements

Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran.
Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran. Wichita Eagle

Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas said Friday that he plans to introduce a resolution on the first day of the new Congress next week to rebuke the Obama administration and the United Nations for its vote this week on Israeli settlements.

The U.N. Security Council voted for a resolution that condemned the expansion of settlements in Palestinian territory, and U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power voted to abstain, allowing the measure to proceed.

That, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s subsequent comments that the settlements were a threat to peace angered many Republicans, as well as some Democrats, on Capitol Hill, and President-elect Donald Trump.

The U.N. resolution called upon Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

In a statement Friday, Moran blasted both Kerry and President Barack Obama and suggested that Trump would take a different approach to the settlement issue.

“The incoming administration will have to work overtime to repair the damage President Obama has done,” Moran said. “The resolution I introduce next week when Congress reconvenes will express the sense of the Senate that we stand in support of Israel and disapprove of the U.N.’s actions.”

Lawmakers routinely offer nonbinding resolutions when they want to make a statement about an executive branch action they dislike.

Israel has many allies in Congress on both sides of the aisle. Lawmakers from Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, to Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, criticized Kerry’s comments following the U.N. vote.

“I am committed to working with both Republicans and Democrats to make sure we stand with Israel and that the United Nations cannot be used as a forum to create policies that hurt our nation and its allies,” Moran said.

Curtis Tate: 202-383-6018, @tatecurtis