In the U.S. House this week, the Democratic majority plans to vote on a resolution signaling support for a two-state solution in the perennial Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The vote could come as soon as this afternoon.
The proposed legislation introduced in April and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee advocates for a negotiated, long-term solution that ensures Israels security as a democratic, Jewish nation while also establishing a Palestinian state.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) currently serves as the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is one of five Texans on the committee. Other Texas members include Reps. Ron Wright (R-TX-6), Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20), Colin Allred (D-TX-32), and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15).
All of the 192 cosponsors of the proposed legislation are Democratic representatives. No House Republicans have offered support for the measure.
Eight Texas Democrats have cosponsored the resolution.
They include Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-7), Al Green (D-TX-9), Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35), Joaquin Castro, and Colin Allred.
Notably, despite being a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Gonzales is not among the resolution’s co-sponsors.
The Texan reached out to his office for comment on why he is not cosponsoring legislation proposed by his own committee, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has been a perpetual issue for U.S. presidents from both political parties and the U.S. foreign policy establishment.
Historically, the United States has maintained a close working relationship with the nation of Israel based on shared democratic values, religious and cultural perspectives, and common national security interests.
Areport by the Congressional Research Service found that the U.S. has provided approximately $142 billion in aid to Israel over the decades: the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign aid since the end of World War II.
Attempts to impose a two-state solution in the past have repeatedly floundered and concessions made by Israel in recent years have often resulted in conflict instead of resolution.
For example, the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, a policy pushed by the Bush administration that promoted land for peace, resulted in the formation of a de facto terrorist state under the control of the radical Islamic group Hamas.
Israel has dealt with thousands of missile attacks from Gaza ever since.
Theoretically, a two-state solution is designed to establish an independent Palestinian state in Gaza and parts of the West Bank of Israel (historically known as Judea and Samaria), while the remaining land would remain under independent Israeli control.
By contrast, a one-state solution would mean creating a unified state under one government that encompasses the entire region.
The geography of a two-state solution, let alone the political, religious, economic, and cultural issues, presents a severe problem as the theoretical Palestinian state would be bisected with large parts of Israel nestled in-between.
Since taking office, President Trump has fostered a strong partnership with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even recognizing Jerusalem as opposed to Tel Aviv as the Jewish state’s capital and moving the American embassy there in an historic development that delighted longtime supporters and advocates of Israel.
Netanyahu, who is currently embroiled in domestic political scandals alleging corruption, believes a one-state solution in which Israel maintains complete control of the region is the only way to create stability.
Although President Trump has stated his openness to a one-state solution in which the Palestinian territories became a part of Israel, the president gave his support for a two-state solution while visiting the United Nations in 2018.
Despite this development, Netanyahu spoke highly of President Trump, saying during a press conference in September 2018, I think& that the American-Israeli alliance has never been stronger and stronger than ever before under your leadership and I look forward to working with you to advance on common interests – security, prosperity, and peace with Israels neighbors and for the region.
In the past, Netanyahu was known to have a tense relationship with former President Barack Obama whom he regularly clashed with over matters of foreign policy and national security in the region.
This tension reached its zenith when the Obama administration negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, a plan commonly known as the Iran Deal.
The Iran Deal was ostensibly crafted to mitigate Irans development of a nuclear weapons program. However, many skeptics, including conservative political figures, pro-Israel supporters, and Israeli officials blasted the agreement for unfreezing well over $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets and undermining the United States’ ability to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
President Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018.
While the Democrat-backed resolution advocating for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not binding on U.S. policy, the passage of the resolution would signal to the rest of the world the approach that Congress wants to take.
Should the resolution pass on the House floor, it remains to be seen whether the GOP-controlled Senate would take up the measure.