House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump

The House on Friday approved a resolution supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, recording opposition to any peace plan put forth by the Trump administration that doesn’t expressly call for an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side with a Jewish state of Israel.

Only 5 Republicans backed the measure in the 226-183 vote, though 11 GOP lawmakers had joined a bipartisan amendment reaffirming U.S. commitments to providing military aid to Israel that was added to the bill.

The resolution follows criticism by Democrats of several moves by the Trump administration that they said endangered a two-state solution, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and cutting the majority of U.S. aid to the Palestinians.

Last month, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump steps up Iran fight in final election stretch MORE announced that the U.S. would not recognize Israeli settlements as illegal under international law, a rebuke of the Obama administration’s decision to refrain from using veto power on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 that called the settlements illegal.

“It is no coincidence this resolution is being brought now,” Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinDCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to 'Red to Blue' program Overnight Defense: House panel probes Pompeo's convention speech | UN council rejects US demand to restore Iran sanctions | Court rules against Pentagon policy slowing expedited citizenship The Hill's 12:30 Report: Republicans conduct in-person convention roll call MORE (R-N.Y.) said on the floor. “It is a rebuke, attempted rebuke of the Trump administration.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The vote also showcased divisions within the Democratic caucus over Israel.

Four Democrats opposed the resolution: Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibGeorge Conway: 'Trump is like a practical joke that got out of hand' Pelosi endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary challenge The Democratic Party platform represents our big tent MORE (D-Mich.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarDemocrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise Larry Kudlow defends response to coronavirus: Trump 'led wisely' The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Woodward book revelations rock Washington MORE (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez to voters: Tell McConnell 'he is playing with fire' with Ginsburg's seat Lawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal Why Democrats must confront extreme left wing incitement to violence MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleySan Francisco considers changing local voting age to 16 Hillicon Valley: Election officials prepare for new Russian interference battle | 'Markeyverse' of online fans helps take down a Kennedy | GOP senators unveil bill to update tech liability protections 'Markeyverse' of online fans helps take down a Kennedy MORE (D-Mass.).

Two Democrats voted “present,” including Rep. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina | Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention | Sanders attacks 'corporate welfare' to coal industry included in relief package Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention Overnight Energy: EPA chief outlines vision for agency under 'Trump's second term' | Agency sued over decision not to regulate chemical linked to fetal brain damage MORE (D-Minn.), who criticized the text reaffirming the U.S.’s “ironclad” commitment to military aid as rejecting Palestinian human rights.

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashOn The Trail: How Nancy Pelosi could improbably become president History is on Edward Snowden's side: Now it's time to give him a full pardon Trump says he's considering Snowden pardon MORE (I-Mich.), who left the GOP earlier this year, also voted “no.”

The GOP-controlled Senate is unlikely to do anything with the resolution. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The resolution highlights the long-standing policy of the United States to support a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and condemns unilateral efforts on both sides as undermining the chances for achieving such a solution.

This includes opposing efforts by the Israeli government to expand settlements or unilaterally annex territory. It also calls on the Palestinians to refrain from seeking recognition of independent statehood outside the framework of negotiations with Israel.

Democratic lawmakers emphasized that the resolution affirms long-standing U.S. foreign policy of both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Omar said the inclusion of language committing $38 billion in American military assistance to Israel hurt U.S. efforts to bring peace to the region, a position increasingly gaining momentum among progressives. 

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-Md.) offered support for the military assistance, saying it was "critical to America’s national security."

He said he was opposed to placing any conditions on the assistance.

Tlaib criticized the resolution as ignoring steps taken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE that she said would “ensure” the “demise” of the two-state solution.

“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,” she said.

Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants and who grew up in Detroit, often refers to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict through the lens of the African American civil rights movement, saying only a one-state solution would ensure equal rights for both Arabs and Jews.

“Separate but equal didn't work in our country and I can't see it possible in other countries,” she said. “Given our nation's history of segregation, we should recognize when such injustices are occurring.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse panel halts contempt proceedings against Pompeo after documents turned over Engel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-N.Y.) spoke out against a one-state solution as incompatible with “Israel’s right to exist as a state that is both Jewish and democratic” in his opening remarks on the floor.

“Do you know what a one-state solution means? It means a state where Jews can become the minority in their own country. It means one Palestinian state with no determination for the Jewish people or for the Palestinians. Israel's right to exist as a state that is both Jewish and democratic is incompatible with a one-state solution, period.”