Rep. Zeldin Blasts House Democrats’ Partisan Israel Res
WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Co-Chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, issued the following statement following House passage of House Resolution 326 - an ill-timed, partisan and deeply flawed resolution - nearly completely along party lines:
“This resolution is deeply flawed, highly partisan, ill-timed and poorly crafted. In the last two years, Israel has been hit by over 2,600 rockets and mortars. In the past year alone, 1,500 of those rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Filing this resolution squarely into the category of worst timing possible, H.Res.326 came to the floor just one week after Israel was bombarded with over 450 rockets, but in all of the pages of this resolution, guess where it mentions Palestinian terrorism? Nowhere.
“This resolution fails to not only recognize these latest attacks, but all of the persistent assaults on innocent Israelis by Palestinian terrorists. Guess what else this resolution fails to mention? It’s silent on fundamental facts that shape the way Israel has dealt with a constant threat on its border. For example, during the March of Return, every single week, protestors gather along the border of Israel in Gaza to throw Molotov cocktails and burning tires at IDF soldiers. Just this week, Hamas passed out leaflets calling on the public to join these protests in response to Israel defending itself against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
“You won’t find this in this resolution or that Hamas uses innocent women and children as human shields, denies humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, incites violence, launches rockets into Israel killing innocent civilians, has declared jihad an obligation, and that list goes on. Maybe worst of all, this resolution completely fails to mention that Israel has made repeated attempts to offer peace proposals to the Palestinian Authority.
“After the Camp David talks in 2000, Israel offered to withdraw from about 90% of Judea and Samaria, parts of East Jerusalem and Gaza. That same year though, the Palestinians started the Second Intifada, and more than 1,000 innocent Israeli civilians were killed in a Palestinian campaign of suicide bombings and shootings. In 2008, Israel offered to withdraw from 93% of Judea and Samaria, but time and again, the Palestinian Authority rejected peace proposals, while continuing to refuse to this day, both publicly and privately, to accept a Jewish state in Israel.
“In this vein, the Palestinian Authority continues to incite violence and financially reward terrorists through its ‘pay to slay’ program, which included the murder of an American, West Point graduate, Taylor Force. Yet, House Democrats added language to this resolution last minute to support aid to the Palestinians, despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority refuses to suspend the Pay for Slay Program to this day.
“This resolution imposes a ‘solution’ for Israel, stating specific Palestinian Authority demands, and deliberately leaving out critical Israeli preconditions necessary to maintain security. It doesn’t recognize Israel’s very right to exist as a Jewish state, with Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It is silent about providing assurances for Israel’s safety and security through a demilitarized zone, but that didn’t stop the resolution’s authors from including Palestinian Authority demands of Israel.
“The timing of this vote is no coincidence either. This resolution is a clear rebuke to the Trump Administration’s recent reversal of the Obama Administration’s targeting of Israel with UN Security Council Resolution 2334. The resolution references President Obama’s policy towards Israel announced after the November 2016 election, but does not mention the Trump Administration’s efforts in support of Israel. One of the worst lines in this resolution references support for the ‘principles set forth by President Obama in 2016.’
“After the Obama Administration abstained from UN Security Council Resolution 2334, the House, along with many of my Democratic colleagues here today, voted in favor of a resolution to forcefully condemn UN Security Council 2334. This resolution today is a reversal on that point, pointing to that December 2016 moment in time as if it was something that should be applauded.
“This resolution chooses to reference President Obama’s policy, while intentionally leaving out the Trump Administration’s policy, ensuring a partisan outcome for this resolution. This resolution doesn’t mention the long list of victories we have had in this administration to strengthen our support for the security and stability of Israel, from moving our Embassy to Jerusalem to signing of the Taylor Force Act and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. This partisan resolution creates a totally unnecessary schism in what has otherwise been a long standing history of bipartisan support for the U.S.- Israel alliance.
“There are other great, bipartisan bills that support Israel and fight anti-Semitism at home. We should be spending our time debating and passing bills like S.1., the Never Again Education Act, or the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act. The House already passed, almost unanimously, a strong bipartisan resolution last summer with H.Res.246, which opposed BDS, and supported peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. However, House Democrats brought to the floor a watered down, partisan and weakened version of what already passed in the House.
“House Democrats should bring forward bipartisan legislation with teeth that will support Israel and fight the BDS movement. They should bring S.1/H.R. 336, which has already passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support and was introduced by Congressman Michael McCaul in the House. There is even a discharge petition led by Congressman Brian Mast for S.1/H.R. 336 that has almost 200 signatures on it, and if it came to a vote in the House of Representatives, it would pass overwhelmingly.
“But rather than move forward and build on our long standing history of bipartisan support of the US-Israeli alliance, House Democrats decided to play politics with a powder keg.”