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US House Backs Rebuke of UN for Criticizing Israeli Settlements


Houses in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev are seen from the Israeli settlement of Givon Ha'hadasha, at bottom, in the occupied West Bank, Dec. 29, 2016.

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bipartisan measure rebuking the United Nations for its Security Council vote criticizing Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory.

House members by a tally of 341 to 80 Thursday voted to support a nonbinding measure declaring support for Israel and insisting that the United States oppose any future measures by the United Nations that are, in the words of the bill, "one-sided and anti-Israel."

The United States last month took the historic step of abstaining from a vote in the United Nations Security Council that condemns Israel for its settlements in Palestinian territory. In past years on similar resolutions, the United States has used its veto, as a permanent member of the Security Council, to kill the measures.

The move last month was seen as a decision by the White House to make a statement on its position regarding the Middle East as the Obama administration winds down its eight years in office.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement Thursday calling the Security Council vote a "misguided hit job," and said the Obama administration "abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most."

Opponents of the bill, mostly Democrats, said the measure distorts the complexities of the Middle East peace process.

Four House members voted only "present" and nine others abstained from voting.