House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bolstered Congress on Monday to go on record supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict – a move that would revive a stalled resolution among House Dems over worries that a vote could influence Israel to try to form a government after two failed elections.
House Resolution 326, introduced by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that only the outcome of a two-state solution can ensure Israel remains a Jewish and Democratic state and fulfill legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, The Hill reported.
“House Resolution 326 is an opportunity for the congress to reaffirm support for a two state solution,” Pelosi said while addressing the J Street conference in Washington D.C. “A two state solution that enhances stability and security for Israel, Palestinian people and the region.”
The public support announced by the Speaker of the House moves forward the resolution which has advanced in fits and starts since July.
Despite passing through the House Foreign Affairs Committee before the summer recess, the resolution failed to appear with two other Israel-related bills that passed the House floor in July. This included a resolution opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, and a bill that codifies the 10-year, $3.8 billion, U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding. House Democrats also see passing the resolution as an important statement against efforts by the Trump Administration to introduce a political peace plan that fails to endorse a two-state solution.
The resolution, however, was held up by internal conflict among Democrat leadership, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) believing the bill would influence Israel domestic politics ahead of a second round of elections in September and Pelosi supporting bringing the measure to the floor regardless of timing, according to a senior Democrat aide. “There are people who believe it was – that it was a deliberate strategy to avoid a forthright statement on a two state solution until long after the Israeli elections and long after Netanyahu had had time to try to put together a government,” the aide said.
Israeli politicians are still working to form a government after a second round of elections in September. Benny Gantz, head of Israel’s Blue and White party, is working to build a coalition after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so after a second round of Israeli elections in September.
Hoyer is currently discussing the resolution with members over when to bring it to the floor, according to another senior Democratic aide. “The Congressman is committed to seeing this legislation voted on by the House, and from discussions he has had with colleagues, he anticipates it will move to the floor in the very near future,” Lowenthal spokesman Keith Higginbotham said.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia), a co-author of the resolution with Lowenthal, said Congress should stand firm supporting the two-state solution regardless of timing.
“I think that’s a useful thing to restate now, in the future and in the past,” he told The Hill. “Otherwise one could argue it’s never a good time, because it always coincides with something, whether it’s a conference, or an election or formation of government or election year… I don’t think we can be shaped by that. We have to decide what we believe is the right policy announcement by the United States congress on the subject.”
But the announcement Monday night by Speaker Pelosi puts the resolution front and center.
“As I always say, a two state solution that must be a solution,” the Speaker said Monday night. “It requires us all to oppose actions that hinder progress. The challenge we face on the road to peace are many, but the U.S.-Israel relationship has been ironclad for over 70 years and will remain so.”