Thu 27 Apr 2023 2:39 pm - Jerusalem Time

Republicans drop the two-state solution on the occasion of Israel's founding anniversary

The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to congratulate Israel on its 75th birthday and wish it success in making peace with other countries.

But the encouragement of peace agreements has not extended to the Palestinians, in breach of the typical language of previous US lawmakers' resolutions on Israel's Independence Day — a departure, say insiders, from the language that was originally drafted for that resolution.

Democrats pushed for the Palestinians to be included in a resolution focused on making peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, but Republicans rejected the wording.

The behind-the-scenes work to remind the Palestinians reflects the extent of the parties' divergence on Israeli issues, "as the Republicans joined the hard-right Israeli government in refusing to support the establishment of a Palestinian state," according to GTE.

The vote coincided with the visit of the Speaker of the House, Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy, and Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies - both of whom are very close to the Israeli lobby organization "AIPAC" - to Israel to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding and the beginning of the Palestinian Nakba.

A senior Democratic staffer who remained anonymous to speak candidly told the Jewish Telegraph: “We worked hard with the Republican staff on the Foreign Affairs Committee to find a way to preserve precedent and preserve the language of two states when celebrating Israel’s birthday that took place decades ago. The Republic accepts the language of two states and we had to move on to say Merry Christmas to Israel."

The resolution was passed Tuesday, on the eve of Israel's Independence Day, when all but 18 Democrats (197) voted in favor of the resolution, which "encourages the expansion and strengthening of the Abraham Accords to urge other countries to normalize relations with Israel and to ensure that existing agreements reap tangible security and economic benefits for the citizens of those countries." countries and all the peoples of the region.

According to GTE, "In a bitter and unusual warning after the vote, prominent Jewish Democrats joined in a statement condemning the Republican Party for excluding the Palestinians."

The statement issued after the House approved the resolution, unlike previous resolutions that celebrated Israel's birthday and its achievements, said that this resolution, drafted primarily by Republicans, broke with the longstanding bipartisan tradition of acknowledging the importance of achieving a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. resolute in our aspiration to help Israel find peace with all of its neighbors, including the Palestinians in particular," as Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and eight senior Jewish Democrats signed the statement referring to Palestinian rights. They are: Jerry Nadler from New York, Dean Phillips from Minnesota, Kathy Manning from North Carolina, Jamie Raskin from Maryland, and David. Celine from Rhode Island, Debbie Wasserman Schultz from Florida, and Jan Schakowski and Brad Schneider from Illinois.

According to the American Jewish newspaper (GTE), “An insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency how the resolution developed, pointing out that early this year, pro-Israel groups contacted Democrats and Republicans to draft a resolution.” Bipartisan marking Israel's 75th birthday, and lawmakers on both sides deemed it a no-brainer, despite recent unrest in Israel, and mass protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposed sweeping changes to the court system that have filled the streets for weeks. amid the intensification of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

According to GTE, the employees, who work in nonpartisan ways, revived the language from a resolution in 2018 marking Israel's 70th anniversary sponsored by Rep. Virginia Fox, R-North Carolina, that year, as employees on both sides believe that Foxx's decision was a good example, in that it contained what was at the time standard language, supporting "a negotiated settlement leading to a sustainable two-state solution with a democratic Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized, democratic Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security."

But about a month after the agreement (which took place at the beginning of the year), the Republican leadership returned, according to this narrative, with clear instructions: Do not mention the Palestinians, not at all—although centrist pro-Israel groups have been pushing for the two-state language to remain in the resolution. .

According to the newspaper, "The most influential Jewish organization during Trump's presidency was the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), which rejects a two-state solution, and persuaded senior pro-Israel conservatives in the Republican Party in 2016 to remove reference to the two-state solution from its platform."

The resolution, which also supports defense assistance to Israel and bilateral cooperation between the United States and Israel in the defense and civilian spheres, mentions every peace and normalization agreement that Israel has signed — with Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — with the exception of the 1993 Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.

The paper quotes the chief Democratic staff as saying, "The party, of course, wants to wish well for Israel - but those good wishes were wrapped up in fears that it would remain a Jewish and democratic state."

For its part, the Israeli lobby organization "AIPAC" praised the decision, and said in a statement, "The decision recognizes that a strong and secure Israel is a vital pillar of American national security policy in the Middle East, while liberal Jewish policy groups in the Middle East denounced the omission of the Palestinian issue, as the" Americans from Peace Now said, "The decision to remove support for a two-state solution from the text requires that we ask exactly what 'shared values' Kevin McCarthy is referring to? More importantly, it begs the question, What future solution to the conflict do House Republicans support?"

In turn, J Street said it would pressure the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority, "to introduce a resolution that takes a different approach, consistent with a bipartisan commitment to a two-state solution that guarantees a peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians."


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Republicans drop the two-state solution on the occasion of Israel's founding anniversary