Washington: The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly supported a negotiated settlement as the way to peace between Israeli and the Palestinians. It rejected Palestinian pursuit of statehood through the United Nations.
The vote was 407-6 for the non-binding resolution that also recommended that the Obama administration consider suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority in light of the deal between that government and Hamas, the dominant power in Gaza that is considered a terrorist group by Israel
and the United States.
Thirteen lawmakers voted present.
The resolution said that the goal was two states, "a democratic Jewish state of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition."
The House had debated the measure on Wednesday but postponed the vote to ensure lawmakers had a chance to vote.
Republicans and Democrats signalled their strong support for Israel and a resumption of direct negotiations that collapsed last fall.
"We stand by Israel as our most valued ally. It is time for the Palestinian Authority to accept a peaceful solution to this conflict," said House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said he strongly believed that to ensure "the long-term viability of the Jewish democratic state, peace must be negotiated. It cannot and will not be imposed from outside."
The administration has said the Palestinian push for a U.N. vote on its statehood late this year has not helped the peace process, a point echoed by lawmakers.