The White House responded Friday to one of three remaining We the People petitions posted during the site’s first few days online in September 2011.
The 19-month-old petition asked the United States to not veto Palestine’s then-pending application for full member-state status in the United Nations.
While the United States did not officially veto Palestinian membership, the bid effectively stalled in November 2011 when the UN Security Council issued a report stating it could not reach a unanimous decision. The UN General Assembly upgraded Palestine to non-member observer state status in November 2012.
Israel has occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the 1967 Middle East War.
Friday’s unsigned petition response essentially re-states longstanding administration policy, noting the U.S. supports the creation of an independent Palestinian state but believes unilateral actions by either Israel or the Palestinians, such as vying for UN membership, are detrimental to direct negotiations between the two. The statement did not address the long delay in the White House’s response.
“It's disappointing that we had to wait more than one-and-a-half years to get a response from the White House to our petition,” Josh Ruebner, the petition’s author and national advocacy director for the group End the Occupation said by email.
“It is even more disappointing,” Ruebner said, “that the issue we raised in the petition -- calling on the United States not to veto Palestine's UN membership application -- has long since ceased to be a relevant political issue.”
There are two other We the People petitions from the site’s first few days online that are still awaiting responses. They ask the White House to: End the Military’s Discrimination against Non-Religious Service Members and to Require all Genetically Modified Foods to be labeled as such.
In other We the People news, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel responded on Tuesday to a petition opposing the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which passed the U.S. House on April 18.
President Obama has already threatened to veto the controversial bill if it’s not changed significantly before final passage, saying it doesn’t sufficiently protect citizen’s privacy. Tuesday’s response cited that veto threat and expanded on ingredients the administration thinks improved cyber legislation should contain.