Saturday, December 07, 2019

For the Record: Rashida Tlaib on H. RES. 326

Rashida Tlaib's remarks on H. RES. 326*

Ms. TLAIB. Mr. Speaker, I rise today as a proud granddaughter of a strong, loving Palestinian woman, my sity. For me to stand up for her human dignity, I must oppose H. Res. 326.

This resolution not only endorses an unrealistic, unattainable solution, one that Israel has made impossible, but also one that legitimizes inequality, ethnic discrimination and inhuman conditions. Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Likud party have actively fought against a two-state solution and took steps to ensure its demise. They increased their illegal taking of Palestinian homes, imprisoned more Palestinian children than ever before, and are building walls right now to annex the West Bank and other Palestinian villages.

Moreover, Israel’s nation-state law, which states that only Jews have the right to self-determination, has eliminated the political rights of the Palestinian people and effectively made them second-class citizens. Separate but equal didn’t work in our country, and I can’t see that it is possible in other countries. Given our Nation’s history of segregation, we should recognize when such injustices are occurring. We cannot be honest brokers for peace if we refuse to use the words: illegal occupation by Israel.

Our country and the United States Congress must condemn these undemocratic actions. We must take bolder actions to ensure that human rights are upheld in Israel and that Palestinians and Black Israelis are treated with equality every human being deserves.

To honor my Sity Mufteih who lives in the occupied West Bank, Palestine, I am unable to support this resolution today. She deserves better. 

Video is here.

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* Full text

Whereas the special relationship between the United States and Israel is rooted in shared national security interests and shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; 
Whereas the United States has worked for decades to strengthen Israel’s security through assistance and cooperation on defense and intelligence matters in order to enhance the safety of United States and Israeli citizens; including by finalizing in 2016 under the Obama Administration, a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming the United States’ commitment to annual military assistance and cooperative missile defense programs, which is in the national interests of both countries; 
Whereas the United States remains unwavering in its commitment to help Israel address the myriad challenges it faces, including terrorism, regional instability, horrifying violence in neighboring states, and hostile regimes that call for its destruction; 
Whereas the United States, under Presidents of both parties, has provided bilateral and multilateral foreign assistance to promote the security, stability, and the humanitarian well-being of Palestinians; Whereas the United States has long sought a just, stable, and lasting solution to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict that recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination and offers Israel long-term security and full normalization with its neighbors; 
Whereas for more than 20 years, Presidents of the United States from both political parties and Israeli Prime Ministers have supported reaching a two-state solution that establishes a Palestinian state coexisting side by side with Israel in peace and security; 
Whereas for more than 20 years, Presidents of the United States from both political parties  have opposed settlement expansion, moves toward unilateral annexation of territory, and efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework of negotiations with Israel; 
Whereas United States administrations from both political parties have put forward proposals to provide a framework for negotiations toward a two-state solution, including the parameters put forward by President Bill Clinton in December 2000, the Road Map proposed by President George W. Bush in April 2003, and the principles set forth by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry in December 2016; 
Whereas ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vital to the interests of both parties and the leadership of both parties must negotiate in good faith in order to achieve peace; 
and Whereas delays to a political solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians pose a threat to the ability to maintain a Jewish and democratic state of Israel and the establishment of a viable, democratic Palestinian state: 

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that— 

(1) only the outcome of a two-state solution that enhances stability and security for Israel, Palestinians, and their neighbors can both ensure the state of Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own; (2) while the United States remains indispensable to any viable effort to achieve that goal, only the Israelis and the Palestinians can make the difficult choices necessary to end their conflict; 
(3) it is in the enduring United States’ national interest to continue to stand by its ironclad commitments under the 2016 United StatesIsrael Memorandum of Understanding, which seeks to help Israel defend itself against a wide range of threats; 
(4) the United States, with the support of regional and international partners, can play a constructive role toward ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by putting forward a proposal for achieving a two-state solution that is consistent with previous United States proposals to resolve the conflict’s final status issues in ways that recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination and enhance Israel’s long-term security and normalization with its neighbors; 
(5) it is in the United States’ interest to continue promoting the security, stability, and humanitarian well-being of Palestanians and their neighbors by resuming the provision of foreign assistance pursuant to United States law; and 
(6) a United States proposal to achieve a just, stable, and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should expressly endorse a twostate solution as its objective and discourage steps by either side that would put a peaceful end to the conflict further out of reach, including unilateral annexation of territory or efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework of negotiations with Israel.


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Monday, December 02, 2019

Are "Jewish (Re)Settlements" Legal?

Following the latest US policy decision on the Jewish civilian residency communities in Judea and Samaria of November 18, declared by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, which reads:


Turning now to Israel, the Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration’s approach towards Israeli settlements.
U.S. public statements on settlement activities in the West Bank have been inconsistent over decades.  In 1978, the Carter administration categorically concluded that Israel’s establishment of civilian settlements was inconsistent with international law.  However, in 1981, President Reagan disagreed with that conclusion and stated that he didn’t believe that the settlements were inherently illegal.
Subsequent administrations recognized that unrestrained settlement activity could be an obstacle to peace, but they wisely and prudently recognized that dwelling on legal positions didn’t advance peace.  However, in December 2016, at the very end of the previous administration, Secretary Kerry changed decades of this careful, bipartisan approach by publicly reaffirming the supposed illegality of settlements.
After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan.  The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.
I want to emphasize several important considerations.
First, look, we recognize that – as Israeli courts have – the legal conclusions relating to individual settlements must depend on an assessment of specific facts and circumstances on the ground.  Therefore, the United States Government is expressing no view on the legal status of any individual settlement.
The Israeli legal system affords an opportunity to challenge settlement activity and assess humanitarian considerations connected to it.  Israeli courts have confirmed the legality of certain settlement activities and has concluded that others cannot be legally sustained.
Second, we are not addressing or prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank.  This is for the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate.  International law does not compel a particular outcome, nor create any legal obstacle to a negotiated resolution.
Third, the conclusion that we will no longer recognize Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law is based on the unique facts, history, and circumstances presented by the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank.  Our decision today does not prejudice or decide legal conclusions regarding situations in any other parts of the world.
And finally – finally – calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t worked.  It hasn’t advanced the cause of peace.
The hard truth is there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.  This is a complex political problem that can only be solved by negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate peace, and I will do everything I can to help this cause.  The United States encourages the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank in any final status negotiations.
And further, we encourage both sides to find a solution that promotes, protects the security and welfare of Palestinians and Israelis alike.
I add more to previous lists of opinions (here; and here;) supporting the full legality and legitimimacy of Jewish residency in Judea and Samaria:

Talia Einhorn.

Douglas Feith.

Observation of Amnon Lord.

Dore Gold.

Matthew Mainen.

Eugene Kontorovich.

UPDATE

Gill Troy.

Ken Cohen.


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