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New Senate resolution: will “one-staters” sit on their hands?

There is a good chance that there is no hope. It may well be impossible to unravel the Gordian knot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But there will certainly be no hope unless the U.S. gets more actively engaged and takes a more balanced approach. That is a no-brainer, isn’t it?

Americans for Peace Now, Churches for Middle East Peace, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, American Task Force on Palestine and other groups are trying to drum up support for a new Senate resolution urging the U.S. to step up diplomatic efforts, appoint a special envoy and other steps.

It’s just a symbolic resolution. It has no teeth. It isn’t provocative or particularly daring or even satisfying. I wish it called for more explicit American actions that would put obstacles in the path of, for example, settlement expansion.

But AIPAC specializes in resolutions that are symbolic and have no teeth. They send a constant set of public signals that Congress supports right-of-center Middle East policies. At least this one sends a different signal. Its message is that Congress has no patience with the Administration’s refusal to take this issue off the back burner (at least that’s the spin I would put on it, if anyone asked me).

It occurs to me that all of the advocates of a one-state solution –and most of the agnostics about a two-state solution– who populate the left won’t be willing to endorse this kind of Congressional action. I presume, for example, that Jewish Voices for Peace and most of its members would not embrace it or, more importantly, pick up the phone and call their Senators about it.

Among other things, this resolution calls for a “true and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the establishment of 2 states, the State of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, with recognized borders.”

Distant as this goal might be, it is the only one that has a chance to get any consequential political support in this country. Unless Congress and/or the Executive Branch are ready and willing to change U.S. policy so that is it not tilted entirely to one side in the conflict, it will not be changed. So, am I correct in assuming that it is impossible for you one-staters and agnostics to get behind this admittedly weak but still worthy Senate action? If it is impossible, then how do you folks propose to effect any meaningful change of American policy in order to address the plight of Palestinians in the territories? What’s your political plan?

Here is APN’s description and call-to-action:

A resolution signaling strong support for U.S. engagement to achieve progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace may be brought to a vote on the Senate floor this week. The resolution was originally introduced last month by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) and has 15 cosponsors (the text has been modified slightly to reflect the recent troubling developments in Gaza).

The resolution is expected to be resubmitted with a new bill number before it is voted on. In addition to the 15 existing cosponsors (a list of which can be found here), Senators Wyden (D-OR), Kohl (D-WI), Bingaman (D-NM), Burr (R-NC), and Snowe (R-ME) will reportedly also cosponsor the resolution.

The resolution:

reaffirms the Senate’s commitment to a “true and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the establishment of 2 states, the State of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, with recognized borders;”

calls on President Bush to “pursue a robust diplomatic effort to engage the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, begin negotiations, and make a 2-state settlement a priority;”

urges the President to “consider appointing as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace an individual who has held cabinet rank and has extensive experience in the region;”

calls on moderate Arab states in the region “to intensify their diplomatic efforts toward a 2-state solution” and “welcomes the Arab League Peace Initiative;”

calls on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to “embrace efforts to achieve peace and refrain from taking any actions that would prejudice the outcome of final status negotiations.”

Now more than ever, serious, sustained, high-level U.S. engagement and leadership are vital to salvaging the hopes for peace and a stable, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This resolution sends a strong signal to the U.S. Administration, and to Israeli and Palestinian leaders, that Congress wants this kind of leadership.


Please call your Senators. Urge them to cosponsor the updated version of S. Res. 224, also known as the Feinstein-Lugar resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (or if they are already cosponsors, thank them for doing so).

To reach your Senators, call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected with the Senator’s office.

9 thoughts on “New Senate resolution: will “one-staters” sit on their hands?

  1. You poor, poor, well-intentioned man. Do you honestly believe this kind of white-bread, say-nothing resolution will make one shred of difference to anyone on the ground in Gaza City or Ramallah or anyone waiting a checkpoint for permission to take their sick kid to a hospital? APN and all of these other groups have been around long enough and tell me one bloody thing they’ve accomplished. Why don’t you give truly progressive forces –who are fed up with Israel and AIPAC and the delusion of a two-state solution– a chance?

  2. Why don’t the Gazans take ten minutes of Saudi or Iranian oil revenues and build their own hospital instead of mooching off of the Israelis for their hospitals?

  3. Dan, did you write the last two comments yourself? They are proof positive of the bankruptcy of both the Jewish left and Jewish right. Neither has any answers, political, diplomatic or otherwise. Better a simpleminded resolution that builds a network in Congress that could be ready to take REAL action when the time comes, then no resolution at all, or unhelpful resolutions (like restricting aid to Palestinian moderates), or loud demonstrations that have no political impact…

  4. I meant the bankruptcy of “Jewish far-left,” not the Peace Now types. The latter have only a few sheckels in the bank , but at least they have some currency to work with.

  5. Teddy:

    Can you explain to me why, with the tens of billions in aid that the Gazans have received over the years, they don’t have a modern hospital?

  6. Chris,

    They don’t have a modern hospital because Arafat wasted most of the money that was provided to them. I assume that’s what you’re trying to point out. I agree with you. So, what’s your point? The Palestinians did have a chance to help people mired in poverty and to start building a modern state and they blew it. And from this you conclude…what? Does identifying and proclaiming the many flaws of the Palestinian Authority lead you to any conclusions about how to address the current situation?

  7. My point is that it’s not Israel’s problem. Let them med-evac them to hospitals in Egypt and Jordan. They have many time attempted to sneak in explosives in ambulances, under the guise of medical emergencies. These people are bombing Israel and you make it sound like an indisputable fact that Israel is responsible to take care of them in hospitals because their former leader- who wanted to destroy Israel- stole all of the money.

    Does identifying and proclaiming the many flaws of the Palestinian Authority lead you to any conclusions about how to address the current situation?

    Yes, realize that you are dealing with corrupt, radical, self-serving terrorists and ship them out to Florida. For real.

  8. Anonymous,

    If you meant to refrain from making a comment deliberately, as a rejoinder to Chris’ statement, then I salute you. If not, you might consider using a few words.

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