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Statement on H. Res. 326

December 6, 2019
Statements For the Record
"I will be voting present"

As a co-sponsor of H. Res. 326 as introduced on April 25, 2019, I support Representative Lowenthal’s determination to advance U.S. leadership in seeking a diplomatic resolution to achieve a “two-state solution” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unfortunately, amendments to the resolution mean I can no longer vote in favor of H. Res. 326 and I will be voting “present.”

For years, I have heard colleagues say, “It’s only a resolution. It really doesn’t mean anything.” 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.

This is the time to unequivocally support both the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, justice, equality, and human rights as well as Israel’s right to live in peace and security. U.S. aid must never be an “ironclad” blank check to any nation. I believe if U.S. military aid to Israel is being used to enable or support the military detention and torture of Palestinian children, the demolition of Palestinian homes, or the annexation of Palestinian lands there should be conditions on that aid – not cuts to aid, but conditions – as has been done to aid to the Palestinians.

Striving for an Israeli state and a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security is worth the effort of every Member of Congress. But that means Congress will need to support the legitimate rights, needs, and aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis. 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.

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