Jewish Democratic Representative Andy Levin (D-Michigan) introduces legislation that would make a two-state solution official US policy.
Entitled “The Two-State Solution Act,” it states that “only the outcome of a two-state solution can both ensure the survival of the State of Israel as a democratic state and as a national home for the Jewish people and meet the legitimate aspirations of the Jewish people. Palestinian people for a state of its own ”, Politics first reported.
He further states that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, are “occupied territories” – language that should be referred to “systematically” in US policies, communications and official documents.
The law also qualifies Israeli settlements in these “occupied territories” as “incompatible with international law”, while “settlement expansion, demolitions of Palestinian homes, revocations of residence permits and forced evictions of civilians Palestinians by Israel [all] hinder the creation of a Palestinian state and violate the human rights of the Palestinian people.
The legislation has already garnered the support of 18 Democratic co-sponsors, including Representatives Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) And Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill. ).
In addition to pressure from the legislation to codify a two-state solution, Levin also presents several key proposals to encourage the outcome, which are likely to generate debate and objections from more moderate pro-Israel lawmakers.
Among the proposals, Levin’s legislation calls for labeling products made in the disputed territories as being made in “West Bank / Gaza” and not “Made in Israel”; conditioning American foreign aid to Israel; support humanitarian aid to Palestinians for “human rights, democracy and the rule of law”; the reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem, as well as the PLO mission in Washington, DC; and reform the Palestinian practice of “pay to kill”.
The bill will likely face an uphill battle in the House, especially from more moderate pro-Israel Democrats. These Democrats are likely to oppose parts of the legislation, such as the conditioning of U.S. aid to Israel, which sparked a firestorm in Congress in May when several progressive lawmakers led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt .) research to block US military sales to Israel during the 11-day conflict with Hamas in Gaza.
As the Biden administration has renewed its calls for a two-state solution, restored US aid to the Palestinians, and pushed for the reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem, it remains unclear whether its foreign policy team or leaders Congress will support the legislation, according to Politics.
The Israeli government is opposed to the reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem, with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid calling it a “bad idea”.
Nonetheless, it highlights the Democratic Party’s current division over Israel, which manifested itself this week when progressive lawmakers forced the removal of US funding for Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system from budget legislation.
As well as being backed by several progressive lawmakers, the legislation is also backed by left-wing Jewish group J Street, with its chairman Jeremy Ben-Ami calling it “the most comprehensive piece of legislation on the two-state solution.” that I have seen since working on this problem.
AIPAC, however, has spoken out against the legislation.
“While the bill has laudable goals, it is unbalanced and seeks to impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians rather than encourage direct negotiations between the parties. Therefore, we oppose the bill, ”AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittman told JNS.
Going further, the CUFI Action Fund criticized the legislation, saying it had no chance of being passed by Congress.
“Despite its seemingly innocuous name, this legislation is just another attack on Israel from the left fringe. The American people are pro-Israel and therefore this legislation is doomed to fail. Representative Levin’s bill will never reach the president’s office, ”Sandra Parker, president of the CUFI Action Fund, told JNS.
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