June 20, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 105 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
INTRODUCTION OF A BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION EXPRESSING SUPPORT FOR ADDRESSING THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT IN A CONCURRENT TRACK WITH THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE PROCESS AND COMMENDING ARAB AND MUSLIM...; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 105
(Extensions of Remarks - June 20, 2017)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E855] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] INTRODUCTION OF A BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION EXPRESSING SUPPORT FOR ADDRESSING THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT IN A CONCURRENT TRACK WITH THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE PROCESS AND COMMENDING ARAB AND MUSLIM- MAJORITY STATES THAT HAVE IMPROVED BILATERAL RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL ______ HON. ALCEE L. HASTINGS of florida in the house of representatives Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Mr. HASTINGS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a bipartisan resolution supporting the concurrent-track approach to the Israeli- Palestinian peace process. I want to acknowledge and thank Representative Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and my friend and colleague across the aisle, Representative David Schweikert, for introducing this resolution with me. There is no reason to parse words: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict presents an immensely difficult challenge. There are no easy answers. Successive United States Presidential administrations have pursued peace agreements between the parties for over 30 years, from the 1982 Reagan Plan for Middle East Peace to the 1993 Oslo Accords, Camp David Summit, Clinton Parameters, Annapolis Conference, and efforts to restart the peace process under the Obama Administration. Today, it seems as if progress has ground to a halt. The relationship between America and Israel is paramount. We stand with our ally and continue to support efforts to move the peace process forward, whenever and in any way possible. Despite lack of progress, Israel and some of her Arab neighbors have worked quietly and behind the scenes to improve bilateral relations in recent years. Common threats posed by Iran and the Islamic State have allowed for new limited dialogues to emerge. However limited they may be, these interactions present a new approach for improving the outlook of the Middle East. The concurrent-track approach, sometimes referred to as the ``outside-in'' approach, encourages Arab and Muslim-majority states to improve bilateral relations with Israel, as Israel and the Palestinian Authority concurrently work to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Although there are rarely, if ever, easy solutions to challenges as complex as bringing lasting peace to the Middle East, Congress should encourage and support those states willing to engage in that endeavor. The resolution expresses support for the concurrent track approach, and commends Arab and Muslim-majority states that have already taken steps to improve their bilateral relations with Israel. I, like nearly all of my colleagues in Congress, continue to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, negotiated between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and resulting in two states for two peoples, living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition. I believe this is the only way to ensure that both the Israeli people and the Palestinian people can have a sovereign homeland. The inability to achieve a two-state solution threatens the State of Israel's security and identity as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people, just as it impedes the well-being and self- determination of the Palestinian people. Earlier this month, we marked the 50th Anniversary of Israel's Six- Day War and the anniversary of the re-unification of Jerusalem. For the 19 years Jerusalem was divided, Jews were forced from the Jewish Quarter and the Old City, barred from Holy sites, and Jewish cemeteries and synagogues were vandalized. In the days leading up to the six-day war, the armies of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria massed on Israel's borders, threatening the Jewish people with annihilation for the second time in just two decades. The Israeli people fought for their survival and achieved a miraculous victory. In reuniting the city, Jerusalem once again became a place where people of all faiths can worship. Despite this victory, the final status of Jerusalem and the safety of the State of Israel and its people, regardless of ethnicity or religion, will not be secured until peace is achieved. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution today, and urge its speedy consideration and passage by this body. ____________________