August 18, 2022

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US Democrats introduce invoice backing ‘end to Israel’s occupation’

Washington, DC – Democratic Party legislators within the United States have launched a invoice affirming help for the two-state resolution and calling for “robust oversight” on US help to Israel to make sure it isn’t utilized in human rights violations.

The proposed laws, launched by Congressman Andy Levin on Thursday, would make it US coverage to obviously distinguish between Israel and the Palestinian territory that it occupies, together with East Jerusalem.

The invoice additionally calls on the US authorities to keep up diplomatic relations with Palestinians by reopening the workplace of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, DC, and the American consulate in East Jerusalem – each shuttered by former President Donald Trump.

Joe Biden had promised to re-establish ties with Palestinians, however eight months into his presidency the consulate in occupied East Jerusalem has but to reopen.

“The bill makes clear that assistance to help Israel address its very real security challenges should continue without $1-loss,” Levin mentioned throughout a information convention in Washington, DC, unveiling the invoice.

“But it cannot be used in a manner that violates internationally recognised human rights, or for activities that perpetuate the occupation or enable de facto – or heaven knows de jure – annexation.”

Levin of Michigan mentioned Congress having a say over how US taxpayer cash is spent is “nothing new”, however on this case, it’s “essential if we’re serious about achieving a two-state solution and upholding the human rights of Israelis and Palestinians alike”.

Not far sufficient

It has been the coverage of successive US administrations to help the two-state resolution, which might see the institution of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank. But critics of American coverage say the US authorities has not put sufficient strain on Israel in the direction of that finish.

Palestinian rights advocates additionally for years have mentioned the two-state resolution is unattainable as a consequence of continued Israeli settlement-building within the occupied Palestinian territory, and lots of criticise the two-state thought as a means for Israel to keep up the established order.

More than 680,000 Israeli settlers at present dwell within the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in accordance with a current UN report. Israel captured Gaza and the West Bank, together with East Jerusalem, within the 1967 warfare. It annexed East Jerusalem in 1980.

In a press release on Thursday, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) mentioned Levin’s laws doesn’t go far sufficient in pressuring Israel.

“Palestinians have long been clear in their demands – stop US complicity in Israeli human rights abuses and divest from harm and violence,” the group mentioned, including that measures in the direction of that finish should maintain Israel accountable for its abuses and meaningfully oppose the “separate-and-unequal” actuality that Palestinians live underneath.

“The Two State Solution Act does not pass these two basic requirements and thus cannot be a progressive bill on Palestine,” USCPR mentioned.

Growing debate

Still, Thursday’s invoice comes amid a growing debate over US help to Israel, with a number of progressive legislators calling for circumstances to be positioned on the $3.8bn in annual army help the US gives to the Israeli authorities.

Earlier this yr, Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum launched a invoice that might equally prohibit using US help so it doesn’t contribute to Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory or to the imprisonment of Palestinian youngsters, amongst different issues.

But Biden has largely saved with many years of US help for Israel. In a speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, he reasserted his backing of the two-state resolution, however his administration has kept away from publicly criticising Israeli insurance policies.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who met with Biden in Washington, DC, final month, has dominated out permitting the institution of a Palestinian state underneath his authorities.

The invoice launched on Thursday, dubbed the Two-State Solution Act, says the institution of Israeli settlements is “inconsistent with international law”; it additionally requires “an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories”.

It was introduced hours earlier than the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to offer $1bn in further funding to Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.

In response to a query by Al Jazeera, Levin acknowledged the challenges dealing with the two-state resolution, together with Bennett’s stance, however he mentioned you will need to put within the work so as to open new prospects.

“What’s been missing is the US playing its role – its muscular, robust role – of saying to these two peoples: We are going to support you and bring you together through thick and thin so that we can achieve lasting peace,” Levin mentioned.

The invoice is co-sponsored by greater than two dozen Democrats, together with a number of distinguished Jewish members of the House.

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