McCollum Statement Opposing H. Res. 11
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H. Res. 11, Objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace.
H. Res. 11 is a gross mischaracterization of the U.S. position on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 and of President Obama's steadfast commitment to Israel.
The United States has always been, and will remain, a loyal friend of Israel. In fact, President Obama recently reinforced the U.S.-Israeli bond with the signing of an agreement providing Israel with $38 billion in U.S. security assistance over the next decade, the largest agreement in the history of our security relationship with Israel.
While President Obama has been steadfast in preserving our relationship with Israel over the course of his presidency, he also understands that friends need to tell friends hard truths. Lockstep U.S. support for all of Israel's policies is in fact counterproductive to maintaining the strong bonds of friendship between our two countries.
This is particularly true when it comes to the issue of illegal Israeli settlement expansion. This policy is one of the most serious obstacles to achieving a two-state solution, the only viable avenue to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It has long been the bipartisan policy of U.S. administrations to oppose settlement expansion on land belonging to Palestinians before the 1967 war precisely because these settlements diminish the prospects of reaching a two-state solution and are not essential to Israel's security. Even President Ronald Reagan said of the issue in 1982 that ``further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be freely negotiated.'' It was for this reason that President Obama chose to abstain on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, and I strongly supported his decision to do so.
Unfortunately, H. Res. 11 ignores the history of this conflict, distorts decades of bipartisan U.S. policy and completely disregards the facts on the ground today. The U.S. abstention on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 was not an aberration in the history of our relationship with Israel. Dating back to President Johnson, both Republican and Democratic Administrations have repeatedly abstained from U.N. Security Council resolutions related to Israel. These abstentions have often been at odds with the position of the Israeli government.
Mr. Speaker, achieving a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians is not an easy task. It requires both sides to make hard choices and embrace steps necessary to making the two-state solution a reality. Right now, neither side seems willing to make the necessary sacrifices needed to resolve this conflict.
Unfortunately, H. Res. 11 embraces the extreme policies of the Netanyahu government that are designed to make the two-state solution impossible, and I oppose it precisely because I am committed to securing a lasting peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.