(AFP) 14 US senators urged President Barack Obama on Monday to use his speech to the United Nations to restate strong US support for Israel amid tensions with Turkey and a Palestinian push for statehood.
The 14 Senators urged Obama to "utilise the opportunity offered by your address at the United Nations to reaffirm and explain America''s determination to stand by Israel at this difficult hour."
"We are deeply disappointed that President Mahmoud Abbas appears determined to scorn your persistent efforts to persuade him to return to the negotiating table with Israel and instead seek unilateral diplomatic action in New York that will only set back the prospects for peace."
"The world needs to hear unequivocally from you that Israel -- our friend, ally, and strategic partner -- is not alone in facing these threats."
The senators accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of "anti-Israeli rhetoric," the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, and the Palestinians' push to raise their status at the world body.
"We believe it is imperative for you to speak strongly, forthrightly and publicly about US concerns over these developments."
"We need to make it clear that we will not tolerate continued threats to Israel by governments or individuals in the region or attempts to delegitimize Israel at the UN or other international forums. Violence and unilateralism against Israel will be met with the strongest US opposition."
Democratic Senators Robert Menendez, Bob Casey, Kirsten Gillibrand, Dick Blumenthal, Ben Cardin, Chuck Schumer, and Chris Coons, Republican Senators Jon Kyl, Susan Collins, Mark Kirk, Orrin Hatch, Marco Rubio, and Johnny Isakson, as well as Independent Senator Joe Lieberman signed the letter.
The lawmakers warned "political and physical attacks on Israel" raised "the possibility of a region-wide deterioration into violence" and that "Israel's real sense of growing isolation will make it much more difficult to move the Mideast in a positive direction."