Legislative Round-Up: January 31, 2020

Brought to you in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Round-Up was born!

1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters
2. Hearings
3. On the Record...In Support of Trump's Greater Israel plan

4. On the Record...Neutral/Positive-Leaning on Trump's Greater Israel plan
5. On the Record...Opposing Trump's Greater Israel plan
6. On the Record...Using Israel/Trump Plan in Impeachment Debate
7. On the Record...Re: Holocaust Remembrance & Israel
8. On the Record...Re: No War with Iran/Repeal AUMF
9. On the Record... Re: Miscellaneous Matters

Some thoughts on the Trump Plan, from Lara Friedman, interviewed by Ian Masters – have a listen!

Also, for Lara Friedman's analysis/commentary see: Congress Weighs in on the “Deal of the Century”

 

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(SUPPORTING THE IRANIAN PEOPLE) H. Res. 752: Introduced 12/9 by Deutch (D-FL) and Wilson (R-SC), and since then being cosponsored by Engel (D-NY) and McCaul (R-TX), “Supporting the rights of the people of Iran to free expression, condemning the Iranian regime for its crackdown on legitimate protests, and for other purposes.” Passed 1/28 under suspension of the rules, by Voice Vote. Floor consideration is here.

(2002 AUMF DOESN’T AUTHORIZE WAR WITH IRAN) H. Res. 819: Introduced 1/30 by Curtis (R-UT) and no cosponsors, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Authorization for Use of Military Force and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 do not provide legal justification for war with Iran.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Curtis press release is here, noting: “The resolution I introduced today acknowledges a simple fact: The current Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) do not provide legal justification for war with Iran. From this starting point, Congress should revisit the AUMF and have a thoughtful, bipartisan discussion on how best to approach this subject to address current and future threats against the United States.”

(CONDEMNING IRAN’S TREATMENT OF BAHA’I) H. Res. 823: Introduced 1/30 by Deutch (D-FL) and 9 cosponsors, “Condemning the Government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Letters

(SAUDI HACKING) Murphy letter to DNI & FBI Chief: On 1/29, Murphy (D-CT) sent a letter to DNI Maguire and FBI Director Wray calling on them to investigate reports that a high-level Saudi official hacked Jeff Bezos’s phone in an effort to influence/silence reporting by the Washingont Post on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The letter calls for an investigation into this case and any other U.S. citizens who may have been hacked as part of this campaign to intimidate opponents of the Kingdom, and requested a briefing for Congress on the status of any current investigation and all preliminary and final conclusions. Press release is here.

(OPPOSING TRUMP PLAN) Van Hollen et al letter to Trump: On 1/28, Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD) led a letter, signed by 11 fellow Senate Democrats (including candidates for the Democratic nomination for president), to President Trump expressing “profound concern regarding your decision to release a one-sided Israeli-Palestinian plan forged without any Palestinian involvement or support. Unilateral implementation of this one-sided proposal will risk eliminating any remaining prospects for achievement of a peaceful and viable two-state solution.” Press release is here. The letter was co-signed by: Brown (D-OH), Udall (D-NM), Sanders (I-VT), Warren (D-MA), Heinrich (D-NM), Leahy (D-VT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Baldwin (D-WI), Klobuchar (D-MN), Reed (D-RI), and Carper (D-DE).

(PUT IRANIAN LAWMAKER ON SDN LIST) Kennedy letter to Mnuchin: On 1/28, Sen. Kennedy (R-LA) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin requesting the secretary place an Iranian lawmaker, Ahmed Hafez, on the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list for threatening President Donald Trump and encouraging attacks on U.S. embassies and military bases. Hamzeh represents Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s hometown and recently offered a bounty of three million dollars for the assassination of President Trump. Hamzeh made the statement after a U.S. airstrike killed Soleimani earlier this month. Press release is here.

(NEED INFO ON TBI INJURIES TO US SOLDIERS IN IRAQ) Ernst letter to DOD: On 1/28, Sen. Ernst (R-IA) sent a letter to Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Matthew Donovan, requesting “information on the security situation of our deployed forces who may be exposed to blast injuries in Iraq, and the plan of care to treat the injured servicemembers.” The letter is response to reports of 30+ US servicemembers suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) as a result of the Iranian-led strike on the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq. The letter also “requests a briefing on the January 8 attacks and any associated issues related to the TBIs experienced by these servicemembers within 30 days of receiving this letter.” Press release is here.

(COMBAT ANTI-SEMITISM & CRITICISM OF ISRAEL AT UN) Zeldin et al letter to UN SYG: On 1/27 Rep. Zeldin (R-NY) and 100+ bipartisan co-signers sent a letter to Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres to implement the recommendations laid out in last year’s “Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.” The letter notes, “The report…addresses the claims that the objectives, activities, and effects of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as [sic] fundamentally anti-Semitic.” NOTE: As written, this letter suggests that the UN report agreed with the claims about BDS. This is a misrepresentation of the truth (and brings to mind this classic ditty). In fact, the report “notes” the “claims” – and also notes the rebuttals to those claims. That section (para 18) of the Report closes noting that the Special Rapporteur, “recalls that international law recognizes boycotts as legitimate forms of political expression and that non-violent expressions of support for boycotts are, as a general matter, legitimate speech that should be protected. However, he also stresses that expression that draws on antisemitictropes or stereotypes, rejects the right of Israel to exist or advocates discrimination against Jewish individuals because of their religion, should be condemned.” Zeldin press release is here.

(SHARE INFO ABOUT MISSION IN SYRIA) Romney-Cortez Masto letter to Esper: On 1/24, Sens. Romney (R-UT) and Cortez Masto (D-NV) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Esper and JCS Chairman Gen. Milley requesting they provide detailed information about the mission of U.S. troops currently deployed in Syria, including steps taken to protect them from potential Iranian retaliation for the killing of Qassim Suleimani. Press release is here.

(SAUDI HACKING) Menendez letter to Pompeo: On 1/24, Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo seeking answers about allegations that the government of Saudi Arabia hacked and attempted to extort Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Press release here.

(TARGETING OF IRANIAN STUDENTS BY CBP): MA lawmakers’ letter to CBP:  On 1/23, Democratic Massachusetts lawmakers Markey, Warren, and Pressley sent a letter to CBP Acting Commissioner Morgan expressing concern about a pattern of CBP targeting Iranian students arriving for secondary inspections and expedited removal. The letter requests that CBP provide the lawmakers with any directives or instructions relating to this practice; information about all students who have been stopped and issued an expedited removal order; and answers to related questions. Press release is here.

(IRAN MUST FREE US HOSTAGES) Rubio et al letter to Trump: On 1/22, Sens. Rubio (R-FL) and Scott (R-FL), along with Rep. Deutch (D-FL) sent a letter to President Trump urging the administration to continue to prioritize the release of all American citizens who are currently being held hostage by the Iranian regime, highlighting the case of Bob Levinson (from Florida). Press release is here.

(SAUDI HACKING) Wyden letter to Bezos: On 1/22, Sen. Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seeking information regarding the alleged hacking of Bezos’ phone by the Saudi regime.

(NEED INFO ON  VISA FOR PENSACOLA SHOOTER) Johnson et al letter: On 1/22, Johnson (R-WI), Scott (R-FL) and Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf seeking information about the process through which the shooter in the December 2019 Pensacola shooting, Saudi national Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani, received a visa to participate in military training here in the United States. Press release is here.
 

2. Hearings

1/29: The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing , entitled, “75 Years After the Holocaust: The Ongoing Battle Against Hate.” Witnesses were: Nat Shaffir, Holocaust Survivor (statement); Brad Orsini, SCN (statement); Edna Friedberg, USHMM (statement); Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL (statement); Hilary Shelton, NAACP (statement); and Dore Gold, JCPA (no written statement). Video is here. Keller (R-PA) statement here [incl: “When discussing anti-Semitism today, we can say that we are facing a hard bigotry of soft words. These words come in phrases like “boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel. Even worse, they come in deafening silence from large swaths of this country when terrorists or bigots physically attack and kill people of the Jewish faith in this country merely because of their religion.”

1/29: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment held a hearing entitled “Resisting Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia in Europe.” Panel I witnesses were: Alfred Münzer, Holocaust Survivor (statement) and Deborah Lipstadt, Emory University (statement); Panel II witnesses were Ira Forman, Human Rights First (statement); Christie  Edwards, OSCE (statement); Robert Williams, USHMM (statement); and Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC (statement). Video is here.

1/28: The Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism held a hearing entitled “Escalation with Iran: Outcomes and Implications for U.S. Interests and Regional Stability.” Witnesses were Mara Karlin, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development (statement); Ariane Tabatabai, RAND Corporation (statement); and Danielle Pletka, American Enterprise Institute (statement). Video is here.

1/28: The Committee on Foreign Relations received a closed briefing on United States-Iran policy and authorities for the use of force from Brian H. Hook, Special Representative for Iran, Joey Hood, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and Marik String, Acting Legal Advisor, Office of the Legal Advisor, all of the Department of State.

1/29: The Committee on Foreign Affairs was scheduled to hold a hearing entitled “Evaluating the Trump Administration’s Policies on Iran, Iraq and the Use of Force,” featuring Secretary of State Pompeo as the only witness. This was a re-scheduled hearing after Pompeo declined to appear; and it was postponed (again).

 

  1. On the Record...In Support of the Trump's Greater Israel plan

Comment: All support for the Trump plan came from GOP members plus one Democrat, Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). All of this support ignores the fact that many of these same people (and their party’s leaders) RAILED against Obama and the UN for trying to “impose” things on the parties by, for example, reiterating longstanding US and international policy on settlement.

Abraham (R-LA) 1/28: Tweet – Bold & decisive leadership from @realDonaldTrump & @IsraeliPM Netanyahu is something we’ve come to expect. No other President in history has supported Israel so strongly. Hopefully the Palestinians will come to the table and make this vision a reality.

Blackburn (R-TN) 1/28: “President Trump has been steadfast in his commitment to ensuring Israel’s safety and security. Last year’s unprecedented recognition of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel reaffirmed our commitment to this critical alliance in the Middle East. Today, President Trump presented a path forward to peace which provides the opportunity for Palestinians to eventually have a state of their own.” Also see: Tweet: “.@realDonaldTrump is not afraid to stand with Israel. (+ gif)”

Burgess (R-TX) 1/28: “Bringing peace to the Middle East is critical not only for the region but for the world…the plan is the first step to bring both Israel and Palestine back to the table and restart negotiations. This framework puts forward a plan for a two-state solution. I appreciate the foresight of President Trump to have both Prime Minister Netanyhu and Leader Lieutenant General Benny Gantz agree to use this vision and proceed to finding resolution for their neighbor, Palestine. The time is now for these two to come together and resolve their difference [sic] to create a better future for all.”

Byrne (R-AL) 1/28: “The framework offered today by President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu represents a significant step towards renewed peace negotiations in the region. President Trump deserves praise for his historic and steadfast support of Israel and his unyielding pursuit of increased stability throughout the entire Middle East. Any successful peace deal will require a path towards increased safety and prosperity for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, and I’m hopeful the vision offered today will bring the Palestinians to the table and move us closer to realizing our shared goal of peace.”

Cheney (R-WY) 1/28: “The plan put forward by President Trump is a historic step towards bringing peace, security and prosperity to a region that has long endured conflict and turmoil. President Trump’s plan re-affirms America’s unwavering commitment to the security and survival of the state of Israel and establishes a path forward for the Palestinian people to turn away from terrorism and embrace a future of freedom and prosperity. I applaud the President and his team for their commitment to working with our allies to bring peace, security and prosperity to a troubled region.”

Conaway (R-TX) 1/28: “Israel continues to be the United States’ most important ally in an increasingly unstable region. I am pleased to see President Trump unveil a realistic peace plan that affirms the United States’ support for Israel while offering a sensible path to Palestinian statehood. His plan protects Israel’s security and delivers a stable and secure State of Palestine. Israel is fully supportive of this plan, which makes my decision to support it an easy one. If Palestinians will cooperate with President Trump’s Peace to Prosperity plan, they will have the opportunity to establish an independent, secure, and prosperous State of Palestine. I commend the President and his administration for their steadfast support of Israel and tireless work on behalf of peace in the Middle East.”

Cotton (R-AR) 1/28: “I applaud the president for putting forth a plan that secures a prosperous future for the Jewish State of Israel while working toward a lasting peace between Israelis, Palestinians, and the broader Arab world.”

Cramer (R-ND) 1/28: “I thank President Trump for offering a bold vision for a brighter future for Israel and the Palestinian people. Through his strong and effective leadership, the President has made significant progress toward bringing peace and prosperity to the region and our ally Israel. I hope world leaders are able to build on this momentum, and I urge each side to take their seat at the table to continue making important progress.”

Crenshaw (R-TX) 1/28: “I commend President Trump and his Administration on a comprehensive and well-developed plan to finally achieve a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. From what I have read and seen of this plan it achieves two long held goals of all parties: mutual recognition and a Palestinian state that does not compromise Israeli security. The plan’s innovative four-year freeze changes the repeated ‘take it or leave it’ approach and will allow the Palestinian people the opportunity to discuss, debate, and decide what their future will be.”

Cruz (R-TX) 1/28: “Today’s plan marks another important step by the Trump administration to undo the sad legacy of the Obama administration, specifically by rendering United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 null and void, and in doing so advances the cause of peace in the Middle East. UNSCR 2234 shamefully denied Israel’s sovereignty over its territories, including the Jewish Quarter and Old City of Jerusalem, and called on all U.N. states to do the same. This plan represents a clear statement that the United States does not recognize the legitimacy of that resolution. This follows the Trump Administration’s recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, moving our embassy to Jerusalem, and establishing that we do not believe Israeli communities beyond the 1967 lines violate international law. To have the public support of both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz is significant, as are the early signs of support from the Arab world. Hopefully, the Palestinian Authority will come to the table and try to secure a lasting peace. By standing with our Israeli allies in this way, the Trump administration has also done much to advance the cause of peace. There is a virtue to clarity and to standing unshakably with our friends, which in turn will push our allies in the region closer together economically and diplomatically.”

Diaz-Balart (R-FL) 1/28: Tweet – .@POTUS’ bold plan, which has received support from both @netanyahu & @gantzbe, is an important step toward achieving a solution for #Israelis and Palestinians. #Palestinian leadership should join Israel at the negotiating table&seize this historic opportunity. #PeacetoProsperity

Ernst (R-IA) 1/28: Tweet – The Trump Admin’s plan provides a starting point for both Israelis & Palestinians to achieve peace in a region that has for too long seen violence. The US continues to be prepared to work toward that goal w/all parties who desire an end to the fighting & a more prosperous future.

Gottheimer (D-NJ) 1/28: “As a proud, lifelong supporter of Israel, I support a two-state solution that preserves Israel’s status as a Jewish, Democratic state. Today, I heard the President make clear his commitment to a two-state solution, in consultation with the leaders of both of Israel’s major political parties.  I believe that any proposal that seeks to peacefully resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with two states, living side-by-side in peace and security, merits real consideration. This announcement presents an opportunity for both sides to come to the table with an open mind. A lasting agreement about critical issues like borders will only come from direct negotiations with both parties. Any unilateral actions in the meantime, by either side, will only make it harder to achieve peace. The U.S.-Israel relationship has always been bipartisan, and I am committed to keeping it that way. I commend the Administration for the work involved in putting forward an extensive plan to restart the conversation about peace, and I look forward to carefully reviewing the proposal in its entirety.”

Graham (R-SC) 1/28: “Today marks a major and stunning breakthrough for the long-awaited hope of peace between Israel and the Palestinian people. The Trump Administration has united the major political factions in Israel behind a two-state solution that guarantees security for Israel and will lead to a 1,000 percent increase in the quality of life for the Palestinian people. The proposal provides Israel with necessary security guarantees and provides the Palestinian people political sovereignty and an independent Palestinian state.  I hope the Palestinians see this as a serious offer and come to the table. This marks the best proposal I have seen, as it balances Israeli security with Palestinian prosperity and sovereignty. To our Palestinian friends: do not let this historic moment pass. Finally, I appreciate the hard work by Jared Kushner and his team on this important, landmark effort to bring peace to the Israeli and the Palestinian people and, above all else, President Trump’s personal involvement and desire to see a breakthrough for Middle East peace.”

Hoeven (R-ND) 1/28: “The plan announced by the president today helps advance the cause of peace, while maintaining strong support for a critical ally, Israel. At the same time, it helps lay the groundwork for self-governance and greater prosperity for the Palestinian people. While there is still much work to do, including good-faith negotiations from Palestinian leaders and ending terrorism, we welcome this important step forward.” Also see tweet.

Hyde-Smith (R-MS) 1/28: Tweet – Thank you @realDonaldTrump for continuing to push for peace for Israel and the Middle East.

Kustoff (R-TN) 1/28: “Peace in the Middle East has been sought for centuries and today, President Trump and his administration have taken the historic initiative and brokered a legitimate peace plan in that part of the world. It offers precise and technical solutions to find a realistic two-state solution that offers a better future for Israelis and Palestinians. Importantly, President Trump ensured that Jerusalem will remain the undivided capital of Israel…It was a true honor to join President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House today for the unveiling of this historic deal. It is my hope that the Palestinian Authority will reject acts of terrorism in order to provide a lasting peace for the Palestinian people.”

Lankford (R-OK) 1/28: Tweet – This is an opportunity for peace that we have not seen in decades. Both Israelis and Palestinians have been presented with a reasonable proposal as a starting point for negotiations. I hope both parties will embrace this historic opportunity to peacefully settle their differences

Lee (R-UT) 1/28: “President Trump’s Middle East peace proposal provides a bold new direction towards a better future in the Middle East. This diplomatic effort lays out a clear blueprint to achieve strong relations between Israel and its neighbors and to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

McCaul (R-TX) 1/28: Tweet – LR @RepMcCaul: “I commend @POTUS for putting forward a peace plan to help bring stability to the Middle East. This plan represents the best path forward to achieve a long awaited two-state solution and lasting peace in the region.”  “I was honored to be at the White House today discuss the proposal and look forward to studying it in depth. I hope this will lead to meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.”

McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) 1/28: “President Donald Trump is right. We are all united by our shared interests and values for a free and secure future. I look forward to learning more details and believe his Vision for Peace marks the beginning of what can be a historic achievement for Israel and the Palestinian people. Just like when he moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, President Trump is recognizing the realities on the ground. For that reason, I applaud the administration for leading on a vision that also prioritizes economic growth and prosperity in the region. This is foundational to achieve peace so Israelis and Palestinians are free to live, work, and seek opportunities to build a better life.”

Risch (R-ID) 1/28: ““The search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians has been elusive. I applaud the president and his team for injecting new thinking and momentum into a process that has stalled over many years. This plan seeks to secure the sovereignty of Israel’s borders, provides a pathway to a long-awaited state for Palestinians, and has the potential to open the door to economic prosperity in exchange for a departure from violence. I encourage Israel to embrace its Palestinian neighbor. I encourage the Palestinian people to look toward a brighter future and abandon the failed policies of the past. Only together can we achieve an enduring peace.”

Rounds (R-SD) 1/28: Tweet – Today, @realDonaldTrump will release his Middle East peace plan. I look forward to reviewing it, and I commend the president for working on a path toward peace in a region of the world with a long history of conflict.

Roy (R-TX) 1/28: “It is a positive development that President Donald Trump’s administration continues to work with Israel — including Prime Minister Netanyahu and his primary political opposition, Benny Gantz, to ensure its full recognition and sovereignty as the baseline for any Middle East peace plan. Hopefully, Palestinian Authority will sit down and negotiate in good faith toward a workable solution, but America must continue to stand with Israel.”

Scalise (R-LA) 1/28: “President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu displayed strong leadership in laying out this bold plan for a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. After decades of failed attempts, President Trump has provided a path to new negotiations and a lasting peace that preserves the Jewish state of Israel, and provides a path for a recognized Palestinian state. Palestinian leadership must reject terror and hate in order to achieve a better and more prosperous life for the Palestinian people. Israel, which has been the target of this terror for years, maintains its right to exist and defend itself from threats. President Trump’s leadership, along with Jared Kushner and the rest of his team, has been monumental in getting us to a point where a bold and credible two-state solution can finally be negotiated and agreed upon to provide peace in the most volatile region of the world. While Speaker Pelosi is wasting her House majority on personal political vendettas, President Trump has been focused on his job strengthening America’s economy, while also providing leadership on the world stage. I once again applaud the Trump Administration’s dedication to achieving peace in the Middle East and I hope this path forward will be given full consideration by all parties.”

Scott (R-GA) 1/28: Tweet – .@realDonaldTrump was elected to tackle some of the biggest challenges our nation & world face. It’s my hope that this plan will achieve peace, security, & prosperity for Israel & the Palestinian people. Thank you for your commitment to Israel & securing peace in the Middle East.

Scott (R-FL) 1/28: Tweet – I applaud @POTUS for taking steps to resolving a conflict that has been raging for decades and support our great ally, Israel. The United States will always support those fighting for freedom and democracy, and stand up against those that do not respect human rights.

Stewart (R-UT) 1/28: Tweet – After 30 years of trying without success, it’s time for us to have a new approach. @POTUS‘s new plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a bold new step in providing a pathway to lasting peace.

Stivers (R-OH) 1/28: “Today’s proposal for Middle East peace is a step in the right direction and the product of the American leadership that’s needed to bring peace to the world’s most hostile region.  For years, Israel has rightly defended itself against continued attacks; now, the onus is on the Palestinian Authority and its proxies to reject terror in favor of prosperity for their people so that both Israel and Palestine can exist peacefully.”

Walker (R-NC) 1/28: This is the most detailed and realistic plan for peace in the Middle East. This Vision, forged by the leadership of President Trump and Jared Kushner, lays the path to a new era of security, peace and opportunity for the people of Israel and Palestine – projecting to cut the poverty rate in Palestine in half. The world looks forward to bringing international leaders to the table for mutual recognition and independence in the region.”

Waltz (R-FL) 1/28: “The new Middle East peace plan is a bold and thoughtful proposal that will pave the way for a brighter future in the Middle East. Under this plan, Palestinian President Abbas can move his people towards hope and prosperity, especially for women and youth. I believe Palestine must take the appropriate steps to root out terrorism, corruption and human rights abuses. Likewise, Hamas must stop providing compensation to terrorist families and must recognize Israel. I commend President Trump and Jared Kushner for taking action to revive the Israel-Palestinian peace process and was honored to be present at the unveiling of this plan at the White House today.”

Watkins (R-KS) 1/28: “I applaud the leadership of President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu in unveiling a path forward to help bring peace and prosperity to the Middle East. When the U.S. and Israel work together, great things are possible,” said Congressman Watkins.  “The plan outlines a powerful and effective way to forge peace between Israel and Palestine. As a combat veteran who served in the Middle East, I am proud to stand with President Trump as his leadership helps make the world a safer place.”

Wenstrup (R-OH) 1/28: “Israel is a strong ally to the United States, and we wish lasting peace for them in the region. I applaud President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu for their bold leadership in laying out a roadmap to finally achieve that peace. I hope this framework will reopen negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians that will ultimately result in stability in the region and safety for all who live there.”

Womack (R-AR) 1/28: “Today, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to securing peace in the Middle East. No nation can create a safer and more prosperous global community alone – and it is time for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to lay a new foundation. On behalf of the people, they have the opportunity to resume negotiations and take bold action for a brighter future. Centuries of hostilities won’t be solved overnight – but comprehensive peace is within the grasp of those willing to forge a transformative path. I applaud President Trump and the Administration for outlining a powerful vision and taking constructive steps to deliver harmony, stability, and security in the region.”

 

4. On the Record...Neutral/Leaning-Positive on Trump's Greater Israel plan

Comment: Some key House Democratic leaders (including a number of Jewish members) issued statements that were at best wishy-washy, appearing to work hard to avoid criticizing the plan and show readiness to work with it. The fact that Blue and White’s Benny Gantz fulsomely praised the plan probably played into this phenomenon…which again directly contradicts the outrage aimed at Obama and the UN for “imposing” things on Israel by merely reiterating longstanding policies (in contrast to Trump’s plan, which literally imposes a new reality on the Palestinians).

Davis (D-CA) 1/28: Tweet – The key to any peace plan, and what I have always called for, is for both Israelis and Palestinians to come to the table prepared to negotiate a peace plan that leads to two states for two peoples, living side by side in peace.A two-state solution will not come from unilateral actions nor from one-sided visions, which set impractical expectations. We need a lasting peace in the Middle East, and therefore, the administration should focus on enabling both sides to meet face to face.

Deutch (D-FL) 1/28: “..It wasn’t that long ago that President Trump would not commit to a two-state solution. After today’s announcement, we must hold him to that: a future Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel, in a settlement achieved by direct negotiations between the two parties. Creating conditions on the ground for peace through territorial compromise and a moratorium on building in settlements can form the basis for meaningful negotiations. I do have concerns about the ability to achieve contiguity for a sovereign Palestinian state if there are no changes on the ground, as the President stated will be the case. It is not clear that the borders the President lays out are the borders the parties will or should agree to. That’s why direct negotiations will be critical. It is also critical that, until those negotiations begin, there are no unilateral actions that jeopardize the ability to enter those negotiations. I appreciate that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Blue and White Leader Gantz came to Washington. We also need to hear the Palestinians’ concerns, which will hopefully be in the context of direct negotiations that they choose to enter. We also need to hear the concerns of neighboring states like Jordan who will be significantly impacted by the contents of this plan. The Administration’s plan is 181 pages. I will read it carefully to determine whether the details can realistically help lead to lasting peace. President Trump cannot proclaim the outcome to direct negotiations, nor can he create borders by fiat. But if the United States can restart a conversation about peace through a two-state solution, that must be our goal.” [compare to 1/27 statement – “…As we anticipate today’s visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Blue and White Party Leader Benny Gantz, it is important to remember that no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can or should be imposed. As I review the plan, the underlying question is whether the United States will be helping to foster a return to direct negotiations between the two parties or instead encouraging unilateral action by either party that could damage the prospect for peace.”]

Engel (D-NY) & Menendez (D-NJ) 1/27: (pre-release) “…We urge President Trump to re-commit the United States to helping the parties return to the negotiating table to find a mutually agreeable solution to this conflict.  We look forward to working with the Administration to help end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Lowey (D-NY) 1/27: (pre-release)  “While we anxiously await details of the President’s peace plan that may be released this week, it is critical that we remember it is longstanding U.S. policy to push for a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, resulting in two states for two peoples living side-by-side in peace, security, prosperity, and mutual recognition. A two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is the only means to ensure Israel’s long-term security and enable Palestinian aspirations for their own state. It is also clear that unilateral actions by Israelis or Palestinians, as well as U.S. backing of such actions, is counterproductive to U.S. foreign policy goals by pushing the parties farther away from the negotiating table. A sustainable peace will only be possible if it is the result of direct negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. I stand ready and waiting to work with the Administration if they are prepared to engage in serious diplomacy to help the Israelis and Palestinians find a mutually agreed upon resolution.”

Pelosi (D-CA) 1/28: “It has been my hope that the proposed White House Israeli-Palestinian initiative could provide a basis for negotiations to advance a just, stable and lasting peace in the Middle East. However, the proposal that was presented today raises many questions, specifically regarding unilateral annexation, settlement freezes and lack of negotiations with the Palestinians.  There appear to be ambiguities in the plan that need clarification. I look forward to studying the plan in full. Any agreement must be measured against the degree to which it is consistent with American values and interests, including Israel’s long-term security and the Palestinian right to self-determination…”

Pelosi (D-CA), Engel (D-NY), Deutch (D-FL) et al 1/28: Transcript of Pelosi, Bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Poland and Israel Press Conference

— Engel (D-NY): “We’ve seen the proposal.  I haven’t looked at it extensively. There’s some good room for hope there.  I support – I don’t want to put words in anybody’s mouth – but, I think we all support a two-state solution.  A Jewish, democratic state of Israel and a Palestinian de-militarized state, living side-by-side in peace, but again I have to read the whole plan.  What I’ve seen initially gives me some home, and I hope that it follows through and that we can try to bring an end to this horrific Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all.”

— Deutch (F-FL): “…based on the relatively brief conversation that we had this morning and some of the details that were laid out by the President, it seems like this is an effort that requires greater analysis and that I look forward to digging into.  It is, as has been said, 80 pages, and we’ve not seen those yet. But certainly it seems to preserve that possibility of a two-state solution. The President spoke openly about the Palestinian state. He also spoke at length about meeting Israel’s security needs and from there, I believe and I hope the conversation can continue.  And I hope that it does in fact lead to a negotiation between the two parties.”

— Wasserman Shultz (D-FL): “one thing I think is important to underscore is no potential peace plan can move in any direction other than two states for to peoples living side by side in peace with security for Israel and the aspirations of the Palestinians being achieved.  A peace plan cannot be imposed. While whatever this framework does look like, it absolutely needs to be followed up by direct, bilateral negotiations between the two parties, because it really isn’t possible to achieve two states for two peoples, and that goal that we have been involved as a facilitator in the United States for so many years, without making sure that we return to direct, bilateral negotiations.  That is the direction that we need to make sure this continues to go in.”

— Pelosi (D-CA): “these are the two pages that we received, and they do wet [sic] our appetite to see the full 80 pages.  But it is – and there are some areas of common ground here that those of us have spoken out for a negotiated settlement, a two-state solution.  I emphasize the word solution. But I associate myself with everything that has been said by my colleagues.”

Schumer (D-NY) 1/27: (pre-release) “We need a plan that will improve the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Any such plan must start by assuring Israeli security in a region where the threats are real and wars, like the conflict in Syria, are on Israel’s doorstep. I continue to believe that the goal must be a negotiated two-state solution with mutually agreed upon land swaps, a solution that ensures a safe and secure Israel can live side-by-side in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state that provides self-determination for the Palestinian people. A sustainable peace deal must be negotiated directly between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Both sides should come to the negotiating table. Unilateral action taken by either side in response to the release of the Trump administration’s plan will diminish the prospects of a future peace. Real diplomacy via direct negotiations, while a long and arduous road, is the only path for a durable peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

Shalala (D-FL) 1/28: Tweet – As we review the president’s proposal to achieve peace in the Middle East, we must be mindful that lasting peace cannot be imposed unilaterally. Peace will require thoughtful, deliberate, and direct negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians.

 

5. On the Record...Opposing Trump's Greater Israel plan

Comment: A large number of Democrats came out strongly against the plan – including, notably, candidates for president…

 Van Hollen et al letter to Trump: On 1/28, Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD) led a letter, signed by 11 fellow Senate Democrats (including candidates for the Democratic nomination for president), to President Trump expressing “profound concern regarding your decision to release a one-sided Israeli-Palestinian plan forged without any Palestinian involvement or support. Unilateral implementation of this one-sided proposal will risk eliminating any remaining prospects for achievement of a peaceful and viable two-state solution.” Press release is here. The letter was co-signed by: Brown (D-OH), Udall (D-NM), Sanders (I-VT), Warren (D-MA), Heinrich (D-NM), Leahy (D-VT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Baldwin (D-WI), Klobuchar (D-MN), Reed (D-RI), and Carper (D-DE).

Bonamici (D-OR) 1/28: “Today the President released a Middle East “peace plan” that was soon followed by an announcement that Israel plans to move forward unilaterally with annexing settlements in the West Bank. This is not a viable path to a two-state solution, which must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians. Cementing the status quo would further deteriorate any trust among the two parties and diminish the possibility of achieving a peaceful resolution that respects the rights of Palestinians and ensures the long-term security of a democratic Israel.”

Cardin (D-MD) 1/28: “…Direct negotiations resulting in a two-state solution with neighbors living in peace and mutual security is the only way to end the intractable conflict between Israeli and Palestinians. The United States has repeatedly urged both sides to refrain from unilateral actions that could endanger a future agreement. Unfortunately, this long-awaited Trump plan, which was developed without consultation of both sides, may do the reverse of its stated goal and make it more difficult for the parties to return to direct negotiations. In addition, it hampers the ability of the United States to reclaim its role as an honest broker. The devil is in the details. The United States of America should be working with Israel and the Palestinians to develop a serious effort to bring together the parties so that they can work out the details of a plan that will lead to stability, peace and economic prosperity for all.”

Castro (D-CA) 1/28: “President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan is not inclusive of all parties involved, and dead on arrival. This is the inevitable result of the President’s approach to the conflict not as a serious diplomatic effort, but as a real estate deal to be negotiated by a developer who happens to be his son-in-law. Instead of serving as an honest broker between the two parties, this Administration has spent three years alienating not only the Palestinians, but also Israelis and Americans who are committed to lasting peace through a two-state solution. This plan, developed with Prime Minister Netanyahu, is a unilateral imposition on the Palestinian people that is not sustainable. Security and prosperity for the Israeli and Palestinian people is in the interests of the United States and as Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, I will advocate for our nation’s leadership on these issues. As we pursue a genuine and just peace in the Middle East, we need respectful, inclusive diplomacy, not phony publicity stunts. Without a change in policy and approach, ordinary Israelis and Palestinians will continue to bear the costs of this Administration’s tone-deaf diplomacy. Rather than today’s display of political bullying, the United States must resume our role as a leader among nations, prioritize the values we hold dear, and demonstrate moral leadership in the Middle East.” Also tweeted here.

Chu (D-CA) 1/28: Tweet – This disconnected patchwork of enclaves, divided and surrounded by Israeli settlements is not a viable Palestinian state. Today, I joined my colleagues in a letter to President Trump rejecting this sham plan and opposing unilateral annexations & urging a true two-state solution.

Congressional Progressive Caucus 1/29: ““This isn’t a peace plan. Any proposal that refuses to include Palestinian voices is not a plan at all. Rather, it’s a further entrenchment of the disastrous status quo that violates international law and denies basic human rights to millions of people. This outrageous proposal undermines decades of U.S. policy and sends a signal that our government cannot be trusted to advance peace and diplomacy on the world stage. The Trump Administration has shown that they will not pursue a fair, negotiated two-state solution. The White House has operated in bad faith from the outset – green-lighting annexation of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and cutting desperately-needed humanitarian funds for Palestinians – with catastrophic results for the security and stability of the region and American credibility abroad. Neither Israelis nor Palestinians can afford a politically-motivated, counterproductive ‘peace plan’ that does nothing to secure peace or protect human dignity. Any viable peace plan must include both Israeli and Palestinian voices and prioritize real diplomacy and negotiation.”

Dingell (D-MI) 1/28: “This is not a peace plan, it actually aggravates issues in the region. The negotiations did not include Palestinians, or buy-in from regional partners such as Jordan and Egypt. For peace to prevail, both states need to be treated fairly. To be clear, this package grants a conditional state in name only to the Palestinians. A state that could never be sovereign because it is not contiguous and is entirely surrounded by Israel. Further, providing no right of return for Palestinian refugees, annexing the Jordan Valley to Israel, and recognizing West Bank settlements as Israeli territory does not treat Palestinians as equals. This proposal holds the potential to further the conflict and occupation and is not an earnest attempt at peace in the region. The United States must remain committed toward a just, two-state solution to the conflict that allows both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, side-by-side. In December, the House of Representatives reiterated that commitment. Peace is never easy, and we must be clear-eyed about the obstacles that remain in resolving this conflict. This plan does not meet this standard, and is not a plan I can support.”

Doyle (D-PA) 1/28: Tweet – I believe that @POTUS’ plan fails to offer a meaningful path to peace for Israel and Palestine, and may even exacerbate the conflict. A successful plan must be seen by both sides as a fair compromise that achieves a legitimate two-state solution.I do not think that this plan represents the true interests of the United States, Israel, or the Palestinian people. It sets us back – and I will continue to advocate for a real peace plan. The release of this plan should not be used to greenlight annexation of territory in the West Bank – something that previous (Democratic and Republican) Administrations and Congress have opposed for years. Annexation is counter-productive to peace, a two-state solution, security.

Durbin (D-IL) 1/28: Twitter thread – I have long believed a two state solution, one that provides for a secure Israel & a viable Palestinian state, is the only way forward for lasting peace in the Middle East. The Trump/Netanyahu plan ignores decades of bipartisan US policy in favor of short term political gains. I’m deeply concerned this plan will further legitimize Israeli settlements & be seen as green light from Trump Admin for Netanyahu to annex key parts of West Bank. It’s near impossible to believe this approach will lead to dialogue & compromise needed for lasting peace agreement.

Gracia (D-IL) 1/28: “I have always strongly supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Trump’s plan doesn’t come close. His proposal does not advance a viable vision for peace, equality, and self-determination. Instead, it contradicts decades of bipartisan consensus on internationally recognized boundaries to adopt right-wing Israeli policy as the official stance of the United States. The Trump Administration has yet again released a half-baked plan and called it diplomacy.” Also tweet – Trump’s plan contradicts decades of bipartisan consensus on internationally recognized boundaries to adopt right-wing Israeli policy as the official stance of the US. The Trump Admin has yet again released a half-baked plan and called it diplomacy.

Grijaliva (D-AZ) 1/28: “This ‘Deal of the Century’ is nothing more than a hand-out to Netanyahu and the far-right Israeli settler movement that will result in the mass annexation of Palestinian land and create an impasse for any future good-faith negotiations. This directly contrasts with a recently passed House resolution that rejected annexation attempts and expanded settlements while reaffirming support for a true two-state solution that benefits both sides. Trump has proven himself a biased arbiter in this process from the very beginning when he moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, significantly downgraded the services at the U.S. Consulate for Palestinians, and cut all aid to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. After these actions, it’s absurd we’re expected to trust an impeached President Trump and a recently indicted Prime Minister Netanyahu to implement a peace plan that is absent of any Palestinian input. This deal fails to represent the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States and will not achieve the long-lasting peace promised by the Trump Administration. Instead of a peace rooted in a personal political favor for an embattled political ally, the United States and international partners should pursue strong diplomacy that brings all voices to the table and creates a long-lasting, achievable solution for both the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Jayapal (D-WA) 1/28: Tweet – This is not a plan for peace. It’s the latest in a series of Trump actions that have set back prospects for peace between Palestinians & Israelis. Peace requires a recognition of the legitimate aspirations—for self-determination & security—of BOTH Palestinians & Israelis.

Leahy (D-VT) 1/28: “The one-sided Middle East plan that the President has announced is a striking example of President Trump’s familiar playbook of delusional hyperbole over reality.  After years of empty promises while systematically dismantling decades of bipartisan U.S. policy in order to benefit only one party, it is farcical to call something a ‘deal’ and impose it on the other party knowing it will be rejected.  It is a plan that would diminish the prospects for peaceful coexistence, while damaging our country’s hard-won role as a force for stability in the Middle East, which also has implications for U.S. security interests in the region and beyond. The President’s plan is marketed as a roadmap for peace.  It is not. It is a roadmap for annexing settlements and territory, and indefinite occupation, while creating the mirage of a future Palestinian ‘state.’ It is about catering to an extreme constituency for whom the Palestinians exist as a threat to be intimidated, humiliated, and contained, not as a population and culture with legitimate rights, aspirations, and needs. The Trump plan, which is also the Netanyahu plan, would deepen divisions and further erode hope for a peaceful and viable two-state solution.  It would damage relations with our ally Jordan. It would be cited to justify other forcible annexations of territory in violation of international law. The Trump plan would also jeopardize Israel’s security. Israel would either become a one-party, undemocratic state that depends on the perpetual oppression of millions of desperate and resentful Palestinians, or the Palestinians would be left with a diminishing patchwork of enclaves that only the most cynical would label a ‘state.’ Either portends continuing discord, extremism, and armed conflict. Real peace between Israelis and Palestinians will not be won by fiat, force, or photo-ops.  It requires the kind of steady, responsible leadership and compromise shown by Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein, who understood that peace is possible only by building trust and genuinely addressing the interests of both parties. That kind of leadership is sorely lacking today.”

Lee (D-CA) 1/28: “Make no mistake – this is not a peace plan; it’s a one-sided annexation plan that harms the goal of a two-state solution. If we truly want to achieve peace in the Middle East, we must actively engage both Israelis and Palestinian leaders, something the Trump Administration has consistently failed to do. Trump’s destructive annexation plan does not represent the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States, and I will continue to work to reverse the damage this administration has done to lasting peace in the Middle East. We must advance a viable, secure, and just two-state solution.”

Levin (D-MI) 1/28: Tweet – .@IsraeliPM: “Israel will apply its laws to the Jordan Valley and to the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.”  The word you’re looking for is “annex,” and it means disaster for Israel’s future as a democratic Jewish state and the Palestinian people.

Lowenthal (D-CA) 1/28: “A plan proposed without Palestinian engagement or consent cannot possibly bring peace to the Middle East. In spite of the administration’s rhetorical claims, the promise of Palestinian statehood is hollow, on terms that are unacceptable.  Unilateral annexation of the Jordan Valley, or other moves which enshrine permanent Israeli security control over the Palestinian people, would be disastrous for both Israelis and Palestinians, and would threaten chaos throughout the wider region. By issuing this one-sided proposal, the administration further undermines our ability to act as a credible negotiator in the future and isolates us from our allies and partners, while achieving nothing. The House of Representatives has spoken clearly with the passage of my bipartisan two-state solution resolution, H.Res 326,  the only path to a just and stable peace, and the only way to safeguard a Jewish, secure, and democratic Israel and recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own. This cannot be achieved without genuine diplomacy and negotiation.” Also Tweet – The so-called Kushner “peace plan” is a series of empty promises which undermines any hope of a genuine two-state solution. The long-term results would be catastrophic for both Israelis and Palestinians alike. We cannot impose peace without real diplomacy and engagement. Also tweet 1/30: The House voted on a bipartisan basis to speak out against the unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory. Whatever the Trump Administration claims, they do not speak for us. We must keep the dream of two viable and sovereign states for the Israelis and Palestinians alive.

Malinowski (D-NJ) 1/28:Tweet – A one sided Middle East peace plan unilaterally imposed by the U.S. without input from or consultation with the other side (whether that happens to be the Palestinians or Israel) is not just bound to fail, it’s bound to deepen the divisions it’s meant to heal.

Markey (D-MA) 1/28: “I strongly agree with longstanding U.S. bipartisan policy that a true two-state solution is the only viable path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring lasting peace, and advancing Israel’s long-term security,” said Senator Markey. “But without Palestinian involvement, I believe President Trump’s so-called ‘peace plan’ is a peace plan in name only. Today’s announcement must also not serve as a pretext for further unilateral action by any party that could make peace harder to achieve. What we need today is real diplomacy to bring all parties to the negotiating table for direct talks to both achieve a Palestinian state and protect our ally Israel.”

Merkley (D-OR) 1/28: “A one-sided plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace developed without the consultation of one of the parties is not a genuine proposal for peace. As I emphasized in leading the Senate resolution reaffirming the longstanding U.S. policy to promote a two-state solution to this conflict, a two-state solution remains the best way to achieve a lasting peace, recognize the self-determination of both parties, and ensure Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state. Unfortunately, this plan takes yet another step away from that vision. It proposes a strategy of annexation and fragmentation that would jeopardize the possibility of a viable Palestinian state, putting us on a path further from prosperity and peace and toward generations of conflict. The United States needs to work to bring the parties to the negotiating table, not unilaterally push a plan incapable of delivering a sustainable and equitable peace.”

Murphy (D-CT) 1/28: “I appreciated the chance to see this proposal before it was released, but quite frankly, this isn’t a plan for peace. It’s an abandonment of decades of U.S. and multilateral work to create a two-state solution in the Middle East, and it seems to be guided by political, not policy, objectives. During my meeting this morning with Jared Kushner and Ambassador Friedman, I expressed to them my deep concern that this proposal, negotiated with no one but the Israelis, will eliminate any room to negotiate a real deal by setting up hard lines that the Israelis will now never be willing to cross. I also conveyed my alarm that this plan envisions the United States taking unilateral actions to cement the terms of this plan before a single negotiation takes place between Israel and the Palestinians. It makes no sense, after waiting for three years, to unveil a plan with no Israeli government in place, and after no consultations with the Palestinians. It’s also no coincidence this plan supports recognizing illegal settlements and unilateral Israeli annexation, while discarding any notion of a two-state solution. There is no way there can be a real negotiation and peace agreement in the Middle East without both Palestinians and Israelis at the table and an even-handed negotiator. I wish the administration had spent the last three years engaged in that endeavor.” Also see Twitter thread here.

Omar (D-MN) 1/28: Tweet – This is not a peace plan. It is theft. It is erasure.

Pocan (D-WI) 1/28: Once again, there is no peace plan without Palestinian input. This “plan” greenlights the permanent annexation of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank & takes no steps towards securing peace in the region. This is not a two-state solution—it’s a massive step backwards.

Price (D-NC) 1/28: “Today’s White House announcement is no serious attempt at peace; it’s a one-sided annexation plan. Any legitimate effort to achieve peace in the Middle East must actively engage both Israelis and Palestinian leaders, which the Trump administration failed to do. It has rather embraced the wish list of the Israeli right-wing. It is clear that this “plan” is not about negotiations–it’s about seeking to permanently alter the bipartisan and international consensus on final status issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  It’s a proposal with terms dictated by one side, which is a recipe for instability and amounts to nothing more than political posturing…”

Pressley (D-MA) 1/18: Tweet – Let’s remember: Trump has been impeached & Netanyahu was indicted. Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a planned distraction. I reject this pro annexation plan, it is a step in the wrong direction.#PeaceSham

Sanders (I-VT) 1/28: “The United States can bring unequaled leadership to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we must use that leadership to promote a just and durable agreement. Any acceptable peace deal must be consistent with international law and multiple UN Security Council resolutions. It must end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent, democratic, economically viable state of their own alongside a secure and democratic state of Israel. Trump’s so-called ‘peace deal’ doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict, and undermine the security interests of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians. It is unacceptable.”

Schakowsky (D-IL) 1/28: “Today’s White House announcement is not a peace plan, but rather a peace scam. The timing of its roll-out was not designed to facilitate a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but rather was a desperate attempt to advance the political fortunes of a President and Prime Minister consumed by scandal. Had this been a serious plan, the Palestinians would have been part of a negotiation. They were not. Such a unilateral move is doomed to failure, and makes it harder to reach a real peace plan that includes two states for two peoples.”

Speier (D-CA) 1/28: Tweet – “Don’t be fooled by @POTUS’s “Ruse of the Century.” Green-lighting any form of annexation, without even talking to Palestinian leadership, is a plan for conflict and oppression, not peace. We cannot be gas-lit by two aspiring autocrats using a photo op as a political distraction.

Tlaib (D-MI) 1/28: Tweet – “It’s fitting that the @realDonaldTrump – @netanyahu “plan” was released by a forever impeached President on the same day that Netanyahu was indicted for corruption. This political stunt gets us no closer to peace or justice. As a member of Congress, I consider it a non-starter.

Van Hollen (D-MD) 1/28: Tweet – Trump’s one-sided plan is a recipe for even deeper division and undermines efforts to achieve a viable and sustainable two-state solution that supports the legitimate rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. Our Senate letter to President Trump…

Warren (D-MA) 1/28: Tweet – Trump’s “peace plan” is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state. Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form—and reverse any policy that supports it.

Wyden (D-OR) 1/28: – A one-sided plan is a prescription for more conflict. Trump’s proposal won’t bring about anything resembling a just or lasting peace.

Yarmuth (D-KY) 1/28: Tweet – Really looking forward to the iconic Camp David photo of Trump standing there as Netanyahu shakes hands with himself.

  1. On the Record...Using Israel/Trump Plan in Impeachment Debate
     

Comment: Some GOP members (and Trump’s lawyers) couldn’t resist exploiting the plan to try to  score points during the impeachment trial.

Babin (R-TX) 1/28: Tweet – .@realDonaldTrump continues to strengthen America’s relationship with Israel and work for peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Democrats maintain their pursuit to impeach him. Priorities could not be more black and white – politics vs. keeping promises.

Alan Dershowitz (Trump lawyer) 1/29: “Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the rolling-out of a peace plan by the President of the United States regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, and I offered you a hypothetical the other day: What if a Democratic President were to be elected and Congress were to authorize much money to either Israel or the Palestinians and the Democratic President were to say to Israel “No; I am going to withhold this money unless you stop all settlement growth” or to the Palestinians “I will withhold the money Congress authorized to you unless you stop paying terrorists, and the President said “Quid pro quo. If you don’t do it, you don’t get the money. If you do it, you get the money”? There is no one in this Chamber who would regard that as in any way unlawful…”

Alan Dershowitz (Trump Lawyer) 1/27: “Consider the following hypothetical case that is in the news today as the Israeli Prime Minister comes to the United States for meetings. Let’s assume a Democratic President tells Israel that foreign aid authorized by Congress will not be sent or an Oval Office meeting will not be scheduled unless the Israelis stop building settlements–quid pro quo. I might disapprove of such a quid pro quo demand on policy grounds, but it would not constitute an abuse of power.  Quid pro quo alone is not a basis for abuse of power.”Hice (R-GA) 1/28: Tweet – If someone wants to talk about “quid pro quo,” folks need to take look at @SenSanders, who has already said he would suspend foreign aid to Israel if the Jewish nation doesn’t change their policies toward Gaza. Americans are so sick and tired of the double standard.

Meuser (R-PA) 1/29: “Mr. Speaker, there are different definitions of productivity at the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue at this point in time. Here at the Capitol, Democrat leadership seems to confuse activity with accomplishment, spending years–years–trying to impeach and remove a duly-elected President. At the White House, just this week, President Trump delivered two major accomplishments, a Middle East peace plan and the signing of the USMCA. The President’s two-State peace agreement with Israeli leadership protects Israel’s security and ensures Palestine has a prosperous future as long as it too seeks peace. It is the product of compromise and is a promising solution for a long-unstable region… As was stated very well earlier this week: ‘Imagine if all the energy from this impeachment was used to solve the problems of the American people.’”

Scalise (R-LA) 1/28: Tweet – Quite the contrast today… While Dems continued wasting time & money on their impeachment sham, @realDonaldTrump laid out a bold plan for a peaceful two-state solution between Israel & the Palestinians. It’s clear who’s working for our country & who’s working to tear it apart.

Jay Sekulow (Trump lawyer) 1/27: “This President is only doing things for himself while the leaders of opposing parties, by the way, at the highest level, to obtain peace in the Middle East–to say you are only doing that for yourself? I think the irony is that those statements were made while all of that was going on and other acts that this body has passed, some of them bipartisan, to help the American people [sic].”

7. On the Record...Re: Holocaust Remembrance & Israel

Weber (R-TX) 1/27: “I join my colleagues today as we recommit ourselves to the protection of our Jewish brothers and sisters and the State of Israel against all those who seek to destroy them, no matter what form. Come what may, BDS, anti-Semitism, all of those, may God protect Israel and the Jewish people, as we proudly say; and remind our children–what I call the latest generation–who need to understand what the Greatest Generation knew, and that is that it can never be tolerated, never again.”

Diaz-Balart (R-FL) 1/27: “We must rededicate ourselves to ensuring that we confront evil and oppose all forms of anti-Semitism.  Mr. Speaker, inconceivably, some have the audacity to deny that the Holocaust happened. Others advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanctions in regard to our democratic ally, the State of Israel.”

Hill (R-AR) 1/27: “I stand with friends on both sides of the Atlantic, urging rejection of anti-Semitism, rejecting the rising boycott and divestiture movement against Israel, and speaking the truth.”

 

  1. On the Record...Re: No War with Iran/Repeal AUMF

On 1/30, the House passed the No War Against Iran Act and passed an amendment repealing the 2002 Authorization of Military Force (for background, see: here and here). Note that the White House has issued veto threats of both bills (here and here). Here’s a sampling of member statements on the passage of the two measures:

Members who were GLAD: Lee (D-CA), Khanna (D-CA), Garamendi (D-CA), Pelosi (D-CA)Engel (D-NY), Lujan (D-NM), Doyle (D-PA), Horsford (D-NV), DeLauro (D-CT), Larson (D-CT), Sires (D-NJ), Maloney (D-NY), Garcia (D-IL), Nadler (D-NY) [+ Sen. Sanders, I-VT, who joined Khanna in calling for Senate parallel action]

Members who were MAD: Pence (R-IN) King (R-IA), LaMalfa (D-CA), Cheney (R-WY), Banks (R-IN), Kustoff (R-TN), Smucker (R-PA), Scalise (R-LA), Cole (R-OK), McClintock (D-CA), Scalise (R-LA), Roy (R-TX), Dunn (R-FL)
 

9. On the Record...Re: Miscellaneous Matters 

Rubio (R-FL) 1/30: Rubio on Extension of Iran Sanctions Waivers and New Measures Against Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency [“…While I am glad to see new sanctions imposed against Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization and its chief, the administration should terminate the controversial sanctions waivers on Iran’s civil nuclear program and exert maximum pressure on the regime in Tehran.”]

Lamb (D-PA) 1/30: Lamb Calls For Bipartisan Passage Of New Authorization For Use Of Military Force

Murphy (D-CT) 1/30: Murphy Statement On Egyptian Government Sitting On Mustafa Kassem’s Paperwork Before His Death

Murphy (D-CT) 1/29: Murphy On The Downward Spiral Of Middle East Events: “All Of It’s A Sign Of Massive Failure Of Policy By This Administration”

Schakowsky (D-IL) 1/30: Schakowsky Statement on House Passage of the “No War Against Iran Act”

Cohen (D-TN) 1/28: Congressman Cohen Questions GSA about Trump International Hotel Lease [“The Saudis apparently bought 500 rooms in the hotel. Do you have any basis to believe any of those rooms were even occupied? We ought to look into it…You can sell rooms to anybody – a foreign power, an American group, anybody – rooms could be sold and not used, and that’s a way to provide graft.”]

McClintock (R-CA) 1/28: In Support of H. Res. 752 – Support for the Freedom-Fighting Organizations Within Iran

Leahy (D-VT) 1/28: Statement On Imprisonment Of Loujain al-Hathloul

McCaul (R-TX) 1/28: McCaul Speaks on House Floor in Support of Protestors in Iran

Murphy (D-CT) 1/28: Murphy: Iran Is Taking Advantage Of The U.S. Diplomacy Crisis

Shaheen (D-NH) 1/27: Shaheen Calls on President Trump to Apologize for TBI Comments

Garamendi (D-CA) 1/24: Celebrating the 94th anniversary of Jewish National Fund-USA

Reed (D-RI) 1/24: Reed Calls on Trump to Apologize to U.S. Troops for Attempting to Minimize Severity of Head Injuries

Hoyer (D-MD) 1/24: Hoyer Statement on U.S. Service Members Diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injuries After Iranian Strike

3 GOP Senators + 1 GOP Rep 1/23: Rep. Cheney, Sens. Cruz, Graham, Cotton Applaud Trump Administration For Increasing Pressure On Iran, Call For Rescinding Remaining Nuclear Waivers

Murphy (D-CT) 1/22:  Murphy Statement On Un Report Alleging The Saudis Hacked Jeff Bezos Five Months Before Khashoggi’s Death

Pelosi (D-CA) 1/22: Pelosi Remarks at Working Lunch with Members of the Israeli Knesset

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