The 385-27 vote came as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright testified before the House International Relations Committee. It has not passed the Senate.
Albright told a Senate panel Tuesday that senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had returned to Washington at the request of President Clinton to try again to arrange a peace settlement. ``We are giving it the full-court press,'' she said.
In the past, the Clinton administration has questioned the wisdom of singling out the Palestinians but not the Israelis for actions that could hinder the peace process.
But the House International Relations Committee approved the Palestinian sanctions bill late Tuesday and sent it to the House floor for debate.
The measure is ``meant to send a very clear signal to Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. Do not destroy the peace process. Do not condemn the Middle East to another round of violence and war by unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state,'' said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor of the measure. The proposal is significantly tougher than resolutions adopted by both the House and the Senate last year urging Clinton to denounce Arafat should he make a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
Instead, the measure does not allow for U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state in any way. Diplomatic recognition would be withheld as well as all U.S. assistance to the Palestinians, except for humanitarian aid. The president also would be authorized to withhold payment and U.S. contributions to any international organization that recognizes a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.
The proposal's sponsor, Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., chairman of the House International Relations Committee, called it a ``forceful response to a real possibility.'' He said Congress needed to act before adjourning next week.