Why HR 326 must be brought to a vote soon

Prime Minister Netanyahu is hoping to form a governing coalition after the September 17 Israeli elections that will include parties that oppose two states for two peoples between Israel and the Palestinians. Many of his potential partners also support unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank. Annexation of that territory would be a violation of international law and make permanent the occupation and Israeli rule over millions of politically disenfranchised Palestinians. Unilateral actions such as this will end the possibility of arriving through negotiations a two-state solution and severely compromise Israel’s standing in the world.

At the same time, President Trump has damaged the American role as a neutral arbiter between Israel and the Palestinians with the release of an economic investment proposal that all but ignores Palestinian political aspirations. At the same time he canceled USAID programs for Palestinians.

American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s recently made comments that support Israeli annexation of the West Bank. The administration has also closed the Palestinian mission in D.C. and the US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, and cut off aid to the Palestinians and UNRWA while boasting about taking final status issues like Jerusalem and refugees “off the table.”

The American Jewish community supports a two-state solution overwhelmingly with 83% in favor according to a survey conducted by GBA Strategies after the November 2018 American election.

The same survey showed that 78% of Jewish voters would support a conflict-ending agreement that adheres to international consensus parameters, including a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, borders based on the pre-1967 lines with agreed swaps, international forces to monitor the Palestinian state and border crossings, a Palestinian capital in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and compensation rather than return to Israel for nearly all Palestinian refugees.

75% of Jewish voters believe that a two-state solution is an important national security interest for the United States.

HR 326 is a congressional resolution that calls upon the American government to continue to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as have both Republican and Democratic administrations for decades. To date, HR 326 has about 180 signatures, all Democrats.

There is reason to worry that President Trump might offer Netanyahu, before the election on September 17, something to shore up his re-election chances, and one offer could be American support for annexation of parts of the West Bank.

I ask all to contact your congressional representative and make two asks: [1] to sign on if he/she has not already done so to HR 326, and [2] for congressional leadership to bring this bill to the House floor for a vote as soon as possible.

Should it pass, HR 326 will send a clear message to the Trump Administration and to the Israeli government that the House of Representatives continues to support two states for two peoples as the surest way to bring security to Israel and the Palestinians and to continue to affirm Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

About the Author
Rabbi John L. Rosove is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles. He is a national co-Chair of the Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet of J Street and immediate past National Chairman of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA). He serves as a member of the newly created Union for Reform Judaism's Israel and Reform Zionism Committee (IRZC). John was the 2002 Recipient of the World Union for Progressive Judaism International Humanitarian Award and has received special commendation from the State of Israel Bonds. In 2013 he was honored by J Street at its Fifth Anniversary Celebration in Los Angeles. John is the author of “Why Judaism Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove” (Nashville: Jewish Lights Publishing, a division of Turner Publishing Company, 2017) available at Amazon.com. His new book "Why Israel [and its Future] Matters - Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove" will be published in November, 2019 (New Jersey: Ben Yehuda Press) and will be available at Amazon.com. John has written a series of 8 Jewish Life Cycle Guides that are posted on the Temple Israel of Hollywood web-site (http://www.tioh.org). The Guide “Preparing for Jewish Burial and Mourning” also appears on the web-site of Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles. (http://hillsidememorial.org/jewish-lifecycle-guide/). John writes a regular blog that appears at the Times of Israel at ​https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/john-l-rosove/. His Facebook site is www.facebook.com/RabbiJohnLRosove John is married to Barbara. They are the parents of two sons - Daniel (age 33) and David (age 28). Daniel is married to Marina Javor. John and Barbara have one granddaughter.
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