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US Democrats remove ‘occupation’ from two-state solution resolution 

July 18, 2019 at 11:53 am

Israeli Jews wave the Israeli flag outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on 2 June 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

A US House Democrat’s resolution in support of the two-state solution has been amended to remove references to the Israeli occupation and settlement activity, reports the Times of Israel. The amended bill also claims attempts by Palestinians to achieve statehood outside of negotiations with Israel as is unacceptable.

In April, California Democrat Alan Lowenthal introduced House Resolution 326, a symbolic resolution that reaffirmed the US’ commitment to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through a two-state solution.

The original text highlighted “the special relationship between the US and Israel” and how the US “remains unwavering in its commitment to help Israel address the myriad challenges it faces.” It also mentioned the long history of US presidents seeking a two-state solution and how “delays to a political solution… pose a threat to the ability to maintain a Jewish and democratic state of Israel.”

The resolution asserted American support for Israel, but it also asserted the need for justice for Palestinians, in the form of “an end to the occupation, including opposing settlement activity and moves toward unilateral annexation in Palestinian territory.”

Though this statement is entirely reasonable and wholly uncontroversial, it proved to be too far for cosponsor Representative Karen Bass. She removed the entire clause calling for an end to the occupation and added criticism of “efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood outside the framework of negotiations with Israel.”

A staffer in Lowenthal’s office told California newspaper OC Weekly that the resolution was amended to garner further support, and said, “When you want to get as many people on board as possible, you have to negotiate.”

Calling the Israeli military occupation by its name is still not widely accepted in the American political scene. US anti-occupation organisation IfNotNow has begun a campaign to press 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on their positions on Israel, noting whether candidates chose to use the word “occupation” when referring to the conflict.

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