Two-state solution divides Congress during House debate
This story originally appeared on jewishinsider.com.
The discussion in the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon regarding the recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning Israel turned into a lively deliberation about the vitality of a two-state solution.
“I would like to have a debate on the one-state solution versus the two-state solution because I believe that the two-state solution has run its course and we need to pack up our tools and ship those off to the side and start all over again with a new look,” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said. The Iowa legislator, a passionate supporter of President-elect Donald Trump, believes that the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank would serve as a platform for rocket fire into the Jewish state.
“I can’t vote for the resolution when we are advocating what Joel 3 say will bring judgment down upon our nation for trying to partition Israel. Can’t do it.” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said in his opposition to House Resolution 11. AIPAC has strongly backed the House measure for strongly criticizing the UNSC in its “one-sided” and “anti-Israel” resolution. “How do the Palestinians deserve the land that was given as the Promised Land 1,600 years before Muhammad even existed?” Gohmert asked while citing the biblical verse of David ruling Hebron.
From the other side of the aisle, David Cicilline (D-RI) told the House floor, “I am extremely fearful that the two-state solution is, if not dead, in critical condition.” Citing Israeli settlement construction and Palestinians pursuing unilateral measures at the UN, “there are those in the Israeli and Palestinian governments who are actively working to ensure its (two state solution) demise,” Cicilline added.
Other Democrats rejected House resolution 11 because the GOP-led Rules Committee refused to allow an amendment to the measure, which would have focused additional attention on the two-state solution instead of assailing the Obama Administration for abstaining at the UNSC vote last month. Rep. David Price (NC) urged his colleagues to vote against the bill and expressed disappointment that Resolution 11 did not include adequate support for a Palestinian state.
In a significant shift, the Republican party removed the two state solution from its platform in July 2016. David Friedman, Trump’s designated Ambassador to Israel emphasized last May, “I don’t think that a two-state solution is a productive way for people to be spending their time in the short term.”
EMET, a pro-Israel organization that backed House Resolution 11, issued a clarification on Thursday that some of the measure’s wording was problematic given its support of the establishment of a Palestinian state. “Our endorsement had nothing, what-so-ever, to do with support of the two state solution,” EMET wrote in an email.
The Thursday debate also included other colorful language. Rep. Jim Mcgovern (D-MA) referred to Israel as “the government of Tel Aviv,” language atypically used by Congressional officials given that the Israeli government sits and legislates in Jerusalem. Freshman Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) claimed that “Palestinians [are] a group that has been historically defined by their responsibility for terror.”
Slamming the Republicans closed rule on the House Resolution, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) critiqued the GOP for “stifling Knesset-style” debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, representing the tone of the Republican majority, Rep. Bradley Bryne (R-AL) called the Obama Administration’s abstention at the international body a “dark stain on an already disastrous legacy.”