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HR 326 – U.S. House in Support of a Two State Solution Israel/Palestine, But All That Glitters….

December 8, 2019

It’s entitled HR 326, a bill committing the U.S. Congress – and through it – the U.S. government to a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian “crisis.” With 192 co-sponsors, the bill has some backing, although it is also notable those who have not placed their names in support – Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar – among them.

At first glance a worthy if classically moderate slap in Israel’s face for Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent announcement calling for Israel to legally annex significant parts of the West Bank – major parts of the Jordan River Valley. It is actively supported by the liberal Zionist organization J-Street.

In any case, even though – given Israel’s aggressive settlement building in the West Bank and the continued slow death by blockade of Gaza – the two state solution is all but dead, I might have supported such a resolution as something as a step forward on the issue for the U.S. Congress, and in fact was ready to. Was surprised to read that two local members of Congress, not known for their courage when it comes to criticizing Israel (to put it mildly) – Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Lakewood) – had come out against the formal annexation of West Bank territories and in support of HR 326.

Also influencing my initial interest in HR 326 is the fact that U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, one of the few members of Congress to tell AIPAC bullies co-sponsored the bill.

But then two days ago, Rashida Tlaib – Palestinian-American Congresswoman from Detroit – came out strongly against the bill – as did Ilhan Omar. Omar tweeted

When it comes to this issue, you are either for peace or you are for occupation. But you can’t be for both. For this reason, I voted no.

Then Betty McCollum commented that, although an original bill sponsor, she will be voting “present” rather than “yes.” She elaborates:

At a time when the Trump administration is actively taking policy actions to inflict pain on the Palestinian people while giving a green light to Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands, a statement by the House of Representatives to Israelis and Palestinians does mean something…

Is there any doubt Israel and the security of the Israeli people have the strong support of Congress? There is zero doubt. But millions of Palestinians working to build a peaceful future feel that they have been abandoned by Congress and attacked by the White House. The U.S. is no longer an honest broker in any diplomatic peace initiative between Israelis and Palestinians. The language added to H. Res. 326 stating an “ironclad commitment” to $38 billion in foreign military aid only highlights the contrast that there is no ironclad U.S. commitment to human rights or even providing the most basic life-saving humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people. This House vote today does not reflect the reality on the ground…

In my opinion, H. Res. 326 maintains the status quo and fails to move us towards achieving peace. A peace that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve and need.

Noticeable is how the resolution was amended to delete all mention of the words “Occupation” from the first draft.

So in the end, after the word changes, the bill is the same-old, same-old…looking to be a step forward but in fact isn’t. It treats the Israeli’s and Palestinians as somehow equal partners, denies Israeli military occupation – its utter cruelty and pervasive racism – the increasingly apartheid nature of Israeli control over Palestinian life.

So, no. What could have been a new statement is reduced to the same double talk and political drivel. Thank you Betty McCollum – once again.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Phil Jones permalink
    December 8, 2019 12:27 pm

    My hunch is that Tlaib and perhaps even McCollum would define “peace” as including a Palestinian right of return. I note that you haven’t voiced a support for right of return. Do you think it’s necessary for Palestinian-Israeli peace?

    • December 8, 2019 12:58 pm

      yes. I do support it. What it means in terms of an overall negotiation remains to be seen.
      There was no mention of the right of return in the earlier drafts (as I remember)… but it made a clear statement about ending the Occupation, so I don’t think your question/speculation on that point is accurate (it may be but I doubt it).

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