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116th Congress }                                          { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session   }                                          { 116-242

======================================================================
 
 EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REGARDING UNITED 
 STATES EFFORTS TO RESOLVE THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT THROUGH A 
                     NEGOTIATED TWO-STATE SOLUTION

                                _______
                                

  October 17, 2019.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Engel, from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                       [To accompany H. Res. 326]

                               THE REPORT

    The Committee on Foreign Affairs, to whom was referred the 
resolution (H. Res. 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, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with amendments and recommend that the resolution as amended be 
agreed to.

                                CONTENTS

The Report.......................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Committee Hearings...............................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
Non-Duplication of Federal Programs..............................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Congressional Accountability Act.................................     4
New Advisory Committees..........................................     4
Earmark Identification...........................................     4
Summary of Major Provisions of the Resolution....................     4
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     4
Dissenting Views.................................................     6

    The amendments are as follows:
    Strike the preamble and insert the following:

    Whereas the special relationship between the United States and 
Israel is rooted in shared national security interests and shared 
values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law;
    Whereas the United States has worked for decades to strengthen 
Israel's security through assistance and cooperation on defense and 
intelligence matters in order to enhance the safety of United States 
and Israeli citizens;
    Whereas the United States remains unwavering in its commitment to 
help Israel address the myriad challenges it faces, including 
terrorism, regional instability, horrifying violence in neighboring 
states, and hostile regimes that call for its destruction;
    Whereas the United States has long sought a just, stable, and 
lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that recognizes 
the Palestinian right to self-determination and offers Israel long-term 
security and full normalization with its neighbors;
    Whereas for more than 20 years, Presidents of the United States 
from both political parties and Israeli Prime Ministers have supported 
reaching a two-state solution that establishes a Palestinian state 
coexisting side by side with Israel in peace and security;
    Whereas for more than 20 years, Presidents of the United States 
from both political parties have opposed settlement expansion, moves 
toward unilateral annexation of territory, and efforts to achieve 
Palestinian statehood status outside the framework of negotiations with 
Israel;
    Whereas United States administrations from both political parties 
have put forward proposals to provide a framework for negotiations 
toward a two-state solution, including the parameters put forward by 
President Bill Clinton in December 2000, the Road Map proposed by 
President George W. Bush in April 2003, and the principles set forth by 
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry in December 
2016;
    Whereas ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vital to the 
interests of both parties and the leadership of both parties must 
negotiate in good faith in order to achieve peace; and
    Whereas 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 and the establishment of a 
viable, democratic Palestinian state: Now, therefore, be it

    Strike all after the resolving clause and insert the 
following:

    That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
          (1) only the outcome of a two-state solution that enhances 
        stability and security for Israel, Palestinians, and their 
        neighbors can both ensure the state of Israel's survival as a 
        Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate 
        aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own;
          (2) while the United States remains indispensable to any 
        viable effort to achieve that goal, only the Israelis and the 
        Palestinians can make the difficult choices necessary to end 
        their conflict;
          (3) the United States, with the support of regional and 
        international partners, can play a constructive role toward 
        ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by putting forward a 
        proposal for achieving a two-state solution that is consistent 
        with previous United States proposals to resolve the conflict's 
        final status issues in ways that recognize the Palestinian 
        right to self-determination and enhance Israel's long-term 
        security and normalization with its neighbors; and
          (4) a United States proposal to achieve a just, stable, and 
        lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should 
        expressly endorse a two-state solution as its objective and 
        discourage steps by either side that would put a peaceful end 
        to the conflict further out of reach, including unilateral 
        annexation of territory or efforts to achieve Palestinian 
        statehood status outside the framework of negotiations with 
        Israel.

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The purpose of the resolution is to affirm the House of 
Representatives' commitment to a two-state solution to the 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

                BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE LEGISLATION

    Israel has been an ally and partner of the United States 
since its founding in 1948. The United States and Israel share 
a special relationship, rooted in shared national security 
interests and shared values of democracy, human rights, and the 
rule of law. The United States has worked to strengthen 
Israel's security through assistance and defense cooperation.
    For decades both Republican and Democratic administrations 
have sought to play a proactive role in advancing a two-state 
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would result 
in a secure, democratic, Jewish state living side by side with 
a peaceful, viable, democratic Palestinian state. In 2002, 
President George W. Bush stated, ``My vision is two states, 
living side by side in peace and security.'' In 2013, President 
Barack Obama reiterated this commitment, stating that 
``negotiations will be necessary, but there is little secret 
about where they must lead--two states for two peoples.''
    As recently as May 2018, the House has expressed support 
for a negotiated two-state solution, with the passage of H. 
Res. 835, introduced by Reps. Virginia Foxx, Albio Sires, 
Michael McCaul, and Nita Lowey, which stated that the House 
``reiterates its support for a negotiated settlement leading to 
a sustainable two-state solution with the democratic, Jewish 
state of Israel and a demilitarized, democratic Palestinian 
state living side-by-side in peace and security.''
    In recent years, Israelis and Palestinians have engaged in 
unilateral actions which make a peaceful end to the conflict 
more difficult to achieve. These include the endorsement of 
potential annexation of disputed territory and Palestinian 
efforts to achieve statehood outside the framework of 
negotiations with Israel. This resolution is meant to 
discourage such unilateral steps.

                           COMMITTEE HEARINGS

    May 8, 2019 Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa and 
International Terrorism hearing on ``Opportunities and 
Challenges in U.S. Relations with the Gulf states'' (Witness: 
Timothy Lenderking, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Gulf 
Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State)
    April 3, 2019 Subcommittee hearing on ``Assessing U.S. 
Policy Priorities in the Middle East'' (Witnesses: Elisa 
Catalano Ewers, adjunct senior fellow in the Center for a New 
American Security's Middle East Security Program; Dan Benaim, 
senior fellow at the Center for American Progress)
    Mar. 27, 2019 Full Committee hearing on ``The State 
Department's Foreign Policy Strategy and Fiscal Year Budget 
Request'' (Witness, Secretary Mike Pompeo, Department of State)

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On April 25, 2019, Representative Alan Lowenthal introduced 
H. Res. 326 in order to re-affirm the House of Representative's 
commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian 
conflict.
    The Committee on Foreign Affairs met to consider H. Res. 
326 on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 and considered no amendments to 
the resolution. Mr. Engel moved that the Committee favorably 
report the resolution, H. Res. 326 to the House with the 
recommendation that the resolution be approved. The motion was 
agreed to by a voice vote, a quorum being present.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports that 
findings and recommendations of the committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of House rule X, are 
incorporated in the descriptive portions of this report.

                  NON-DUPLICATION OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of House rule XIII, the 
committee states that no provision of H. Res. 326 establishes 
or reauthorizes a program of the Federal Government known to be 
duplicative of another Federal program, a program that was 
included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-
139, or a program related to a program identified in the most 
recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

                    PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    The objective of H. Res. 326 is to express support for a 
two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

                    CONGRESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

    H. Res. 326 does not apply to terms and conditions of 
employment or to access to public services or accommodations 
within the legislative branch.

                        NEW ADVISORY COMMITTEES

    H. Res. 326 does not establish or authorize any new 
advisory committees.

                         EARMARK IDENTIFICATION

    H. Res. 326 contains no congressional earmarks, limited tax 
benefits, or limited tariff benefits as described in clauses 
9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of House rule XXI.

             SUMMARY OF MAJOR PROVISIONS OF THE RESOLUTION

    The resolution supports a two-state solution to the 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict; affirms that while the United 
States is indispensable to the effort to achieve a two-state 
solution, only the Israelis and Palestinians themselves can end 
their conflict; and discourages unilateral steps, whether by 
Israelis or Palestinians, that would make a peaceful end to the 
conflict more difficult to achieve.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    This resolution's preamble endorses efforts to resolve the 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a negotiated two-state 
solution. It expresses support for the special relationship 
between the United States and Israel rooted in shared security 
interests and shared values of democracy, human rights, and the 
rule of law. The resolution notes that for more than 20 years, 
U.S. Presidents from both political parties and Israeli Prime 
Ministers have supported reaching a two-state solution that 
establishes a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel 
in peace and security.
    The resolution resolves that it is the sense of the House 
of Representatives that a two-state solution enhances stability 
and security in the Middle East, ensures Israel's survival as a 
secure, Jewish, and democratic state and fulfills the 
legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of 
their own. It expresses that only Israelis and Palestinians can 
achieve such a solution through direct negotiations and that 
the United States can play a constructive role in supporting 
such a solution. It also resolves that any proposal to achieve 
a just, stable, and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian 
conflict should endorse a two-state solution as its objective 
and discourage unilateral steps that would make a peaceful end 
to the conflict more difficult to achieve, whether by Israelis 
or Palestinians, including annexation of territory or efforts 
to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework 
of negotiations with Israel.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    House Resolution 326 is a partisan political messaging tool 
masquerading as a statement of support for a two-state solution 
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The House Foreign Affairs 
Committee has already passed several substantive, bipartisan 
pieces of legislation in support of a two-state solution that 
do not rebuke the Trump Administration as Representative 
Lowenthal's resolution does. The only logical explanation for 
this resolution coming to the House floor is to provide 
Democrats a chance to score points against the President. This 
is another example of the bad politics which have become the 
hallmark of the Democrat Leadership.
    In the 116th Congress, both H. Res. 246 (which expresses 
the House's opposition to the global Boycott, Divestment, and 
Sanctions movement) and H. Res. 138 (which commends Arab and 
Muslim-majority states for improving relations with Israel) 
contain bipartisan re-affirmations of the House's support for a 
negotiated two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict. Notably, H. Res. 326, H. Res. 246, and H. 
Res. 138 were all considered at the same House Foreign Affairs 
Committee mark up on July 17, 2019. Suffice it to say, 
legislative support for a two-state solution in the House of 
Representatives is not in question.
    H. Res. 326 is crafted as a rebuttal to the 
Administration's public statements on its Israeli-Palestinian 
peace process efforts. The resolution explicitly calls for the 
United States to put forward a peace plan ``that is consistent 
with previous United States proposals'' despite Administration 
officials' frequent comments that they seek to undertake a new 
approach to resolving the decades-long conflict. With 
introduction and House consideration prior to the release of 
the Administration's full peace plan, H. Res. 326 is intended 
to cut the Administration's peace process off at the knees, 
ensuring that any political proposal released by the 
Administration already has the black mark of a rebuke by the 
House of Representatives.
    The resolution is also one-sided in containing pointed 
criticisms directed at the Israeli government while barely 
acknowledging Palestinian actions that are antithetical to 
achieving a negotiated peace plan. Notably, the resolution does 
not acknowledge the Palestinian Authority's practice of paying 
terrorists and the families of terrorists who commit acts of 
violence against Israelis, nor does it mention the terrorist 
group Hamas' control of the Gaza Strip and ongoing attacks on 
Israel, including attacks targeting civilians. Were the purpose 
of the resolution truly to support a two-state solution, it 
should clearly state opposition to Palestinian policies that 
encourage attacks on Israeli civilians. This glaring omission 
is a telling indicator of the resolution's true intent.
    The problematic issues with this text are even more 
troubling because H. Res. 326--as a simple nonbinding 
resolution--is only another in a line of purely rhetorical 
exercises by the embattled Democrat leadership to create an 
appearance of supportive Middle East policy. Meanwhile, they 
continue to allow their Socialist flank to thwart substantive 
legislation that would take meaningful actions to address peace 
in the region and in other policy areas. For example, despite a 
discharge petition signed by 196 Members (to date), they 
continue to refuse to bring forward H.R. 336, the Strengthening 
America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, which is 
identical to the text of S. 1, which passed the Senate by a 
vote of 77-23, with strong bipartisan support. H.R. 336 takes 
concrete steps to counter the boycott, divestment, and 
sanctions movement against Israel, in addition to better 
supporting Israel and Jordan and punishing Assad's brutal 
regime.
    House Republicans have always supported constructive 
attempts to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. H. 
Res. 326 is not constructive; its components are damaging to 
efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For these 
reasons, we strongly oppose this partisan and harmful measure, 
and dissent from the decision to report it favorably to the 
House.

                                   Michael T. McCaul.
                                   Steve Chabot.
                                   Joe Wilson.
                                   Scott Perry.
                                   Ted S. Yoho.
                                   Adam Kinzinger.
                                   Lee M. Zeldin.
                                   Brian K. Fitzpatrick.
                                   John R. Curtis.
                                   Guy Reschenthaler.
                                   Tim Burchett.
                                   Greg Pence.
                                   Steven C. Watkins, Jr.
                                   Michael Guest.

                                  [all]