Even a largely symbolic resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives put forward by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) has become a casualty of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Back in late April, Lowenthal introduced House Resolution 326–“Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding United States efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a negotiated two-state solution.”
The resolution is as moderate and measured on the need to bring peace to the Middle East as you can get. It recognizes “the special relationship between the United States and Israel,” acknowledges that the U.S. has “worked for decades to strengthen Israel’s security,” and insists that the U.S. “remains unwavering in its commitment to help Israel address the myriad challenges it faces.”
The resolution also points out that U.S. Presidents, both Democratic and Republican, have sought a two-state solution “for more than 20 years,” and that “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.”
That the U.S. supports Israel is unmistakable in the resolution. But the resolution also makes clear that the U.S. wants justice for the Palestinians, too. In fact, it states that the U.S. “has long sought a just and stable future for Palestinians, an end to the occupation, including opposing settlement activity and moves toward unilateral annexation in Palestinian territory.”
Though this last statement is eminently reasonable (the United Nations has long considered Palestine to be occupied territory, for instance), it also apparently posed problems for backers of the resolution. And now, according to this post in today’s Times of Israel, that statement is coming out of the resolution–along with pretty much the entirety of the text that Lowenthal first introduced:
Rep. Alan Lowenthal’s (D-CA) resolution supporting the two-state solution will be replaced with new text introduced by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), removing references to Israel’s “occupation” and “settlement activity.” The new text also acknowledges that unilateral moves, including by Palestinians, make it difficult to achieve a two-state solution. The bill cites attempts by Palestinians to achieve recognition of statehood, outside of bilateral negotiations with Israel, as an unacceptable unilateral move.
You can read the new text here (it will also be published in the Congressional Record tomorrow,” a staffer in Lowenthal’s office who requested anonymity said). And as the Times of Israel reported, the word “occupation” is no longer found in the text. In fact, that whole paragraph about wanting a “just and stable future for Palestinians” is gone. Put simply, the resolution has lost much of the fairness and even-handedness of Lowenthal’s original resolution.
Lowenthal’s staffer said the changes were made to increase support for the resolution.
“When you want to get as many people on board as possible, you have to negotiate,” said Lowenthal’s staffer. While the staffer acknowledged that the new text includes “significant changes for people who cared about this,” the staffer said that Lowenthal supports the new version of the resolution.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.