Levin, Colleagues, Supporting Organizations Unveil Two-State Solution Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), joined by colleagues and supporting organizations, today marked the end of the High Holy Days by unveiling legislation to define the United States’ role in making meaningful progress towards peace in Israel and Palestine and to discourage steps that push this out of reach: The Two-State Solution Act.
The bill outlines funding necessary to promote diplomacy and peacebuilding between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and defines how U.S. security assistance to Israel cannot be used for occupation or annexation, a position most American Jewish voters support, as do other Americans.
You can watch the press conference with original cosponsors Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09); Peter Welch (VT-AL); Alan Lowenthal (CA-47); Sara Jacobs (CA-53); Jeremy Ben-Ami, President, J Street; and Hadar Susskind, President and CEO, Americans for Peace Now here and download photos here.
The Two-State Solution Act will accelerate progress towards a two-state solution and discourage steps that push one out of reach. This bill:
- Clarifies the distinction between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and reverses policies put in place by the Trump administration that removed such distinctions;
- Reaffirms U.S. security assistance to Israel; makes clear that there should be robust oversight over that assistance (like taxpayer support to other countries), and that the authorizations for security assistance to Israel under the Security Assistance Act of 2000 and the Arms Export Control Act do not authorize its use for activities that perpetuate the occupation or enable de facto or de jure annexation;
- Outlines the need for programming in the occupied Palestinian territories to promote human rights, democracy, and rule of law, and to strengthen civil society organizations, and authorizes dedicated funding for such programming;
- Creates a trigger that terminates the designation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a terrorist organization when the Palestinians have been certified to be in compliance with the Taylor Force Act, incentivizing compliance with the Taylor Force Act and allowing for the reopening of the PLO foreign mission in Washington, DC; and
- Enhances people-to-people programming for Israelis and Palestinians, authorizing funding for shared educational opportunities and youth activities.
The Two-State Solution Act is endorsed by Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Foreign Policy for America, J Street and Partners for Progressive Israel. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Don Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Anne Eshoo (CA-18), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Annie Kuster (NH-02), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Jim McGovern (MA-02), David Price (NC-04), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Peter Welch (VT-AL) and John Yarmuth (KY-03).
“The need to achieve a two-state solution is more urgent than ever,” said Rep. Levin. “Earlier this year, we witnessed a conflict in Israel and Gaza that cost hundreds of lives and caused devastating damage to homes and livelihoods, worsening a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We saw riots erupt in Israeli towns once applauded as models of peaceful coexistence between Jews and Palestinians. And all of this occurred against the backdrop of a deepening occupation in the Palestinian territories, which tears at both the Israeli and American Jewish communities.
“As we enter this new year in the Jewish calendar, we must also enter a new chapter—one in which Israel’s future as a democratic state and homeland for the Jewish people is secure and Palestinians’ aspirations for a state of their own can be fulfilled,” continued Rep. Andy Levin. “We can no longer claim credibly to support a two-state solution without taking steps to bring one about. This bill reestablishes America’s role in helping the parties move down the path of peace and coexistence.”
“This summer’s escalation between Israel and Hamas, and the continued cycle of violence in the region, underscores the urgent need for a negotiated two-state solution,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky. “It is clearer than ever that this is the only way for Israel to remain a secure, Jewish democratic State and to ensure justice, peace, and self-determination for Palestinians. Today, I join my friend and colleague Rep. Andy Levin in introducing the Two-State Solution Act with the intention of taking us beyond simply stating our support for this outcome. With this legislation, the U.S. would take tangible steps to accelerate progress towards this goal of lasting peace and prevent actions that would put it out of reach.”
“The two-state solution has the greatest potential for Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace and prosperity,” said Rep. Peter Welch. “After the reckless actions by the previous Administration and the violence in the region last spring, it is clear that the United States must do more to help bring the two sides together, not push them further apart. This bill helps do that by reaffirming our commitment to a two-state solution and expressing solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians striving for peace and self-determination. This bill will also establish much-needed oversight for US aid to Israel, ensuring taxpayer dollars are used to further peace in the region. It is a critical piece of legislation in our efforts to break the cycle of violence in the region.”
“We cannot put the search for a two-state solution on the back burner,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal. “Peace without a lasting and just solution to the conflict is an illusion. It is not sustainable. No matter how difficult the road ahead may seem, only a Palestinian state can guarantee dignity and justice to the Palestinian people, without the burdens of occupation. Only a two-state solution can preserve Israel as a free, secure and democratic state, to serve as a national home for the Jewish people. The Two-State Solution Act will put us on the path toward a real and lasting solution again.”
“In the wake of the Trump and Netanyahu Administrations’ counterproductive and one-sided policy making a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict less likely, we have a unique opportunity to rebuild and reorient U.S. policy and leadership to promote peace,” said Rep. Sara Jacobs. “I’m proud to cosponsor this bill to foster conditions for a two-state solution and work towards ensuring Israelis can live in safety and security and Palestinians can live with autonomy and dignity.”
“American policies and actions should promote and not inhibit the chances of resolving the conflict,” continued Ben-Ami. “True support for a two-state solution must go beyond lip service and propose, as this legislation does, tangible actions that would bring real change. This is the kind of bold, balanced US leadership that's needed if we ever hope to end the unjust and unsustainable status quo in this conflict, which regularly harms both Israelis and Palestinians.”
“Simply saying that you support a two-state solution is no longer sufficient. We are at a moment in time where the Republican Party has abandoned this long held position in favor of a messianic Greater Israel fantasy,” said Americans for Peace Now President and CEO Hadar Susskind. “This legislation lays out what needs to be done in order to move us toward peace and a better future for Israel and Palestine.”
“The status quo of endless occupation is unacceptable and unsustainable. The United States should help accelerate progress towards a two-state solution -- the only way to secure Israel's future as both a Jewish state and democracy while also respecting the Palestinian people's right to self-determination,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “As a member of Congress, I have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer money advances our values and interests abroad, and this legislation led by Rep. Andy Levin is a thoughtful and constructive approach to bring an end to repeated cycles of violence that have persisted for decades.”
“As we enter Hebrew year 5782, I hope to see a year of peace and prosperity for all. To bring us a step closer to this goal, I am excited to support Congressman Andy Levin’s Two-State Solution Act,” said Rep. Steve Cohen. “This bill does the important work of bringing a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians closer to reality. After deadly fighting back in May and contentious policies from the previous administration, the Two-State Solution Act helps put us back on the right track.”
“The only solution to the decades of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a two-state solution. I have been a tireless supporter of a two-state solution for decades, and I was proud to join Congressman Levin’s bill which will help us advance towards that goal,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly. “This legislation reaffirms United States support of both our critical ally Israel, and provides increased assistance to Palestinians who suffered greatly under the funding cuts enacted by the previous administration. Israelis and Palestinians have both suffered immensely amid the conflict. Congress must continue to take meaningful steps towards a lasting and permanent two-state solution.”
“I support a two-state solution that affirms the dignity of Palestinians and Israelis and am proud to cosponsor this bill to help accelerate that vision,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “This bill lays out a roadmap for an approach to U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian crisis that promotes democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
“I am proud to co-sponsor the Two-State Solution Act. It represents a renewed U.S. commitment to a viable and fair agreement to bring security, peace, and prosperity to both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples,” said Rep. David Price. And it moves beyond affirmation to delineate a full range of U.S. policies relevant to preparing for and achieving the two-state outcome.”
“A two-state solution that provides stability and security for both Israelis and Palestinians is the only path forward towards a lasting peace in the region,” said Rep. Jackie Speier. “I am proud to support this legislation that takes important steps to ensure peace, including provisions prohibiting U.S. taxpayer money from being spent on activities that enable annexation in the West Bank, like the unlawful evictions and demolitions of Palestinian families and homes.”
“The tragic bloodshed we saw this spring was a stark reminder that only a permanent peace deal can ensure the lasting freedom, security, dignity, and prosperity that Israelis and Palestinians deserve. Robust U.S. diplomatic leadership is critical to achieving that peace, and the Two State Solution Act is an important part of that work,” said Foreign Policy for America Executive Director Andrew Alberston. “Foreign Policy for America is grateful for Congressman Levin’s leadership on this issue.”
“Through our decades of work with Palestinians and Israelis, Oxfam has seen firsthand how occupation and creeping de facto annexation result directly in the denial of communities’ basic rights to live, work, and learn in safety and dignity,” said Oxfam America Global Policy Lead Noah Gottschalk. “The Two State Solution Bill is an important effort to offer constructive, tangible progress in line with long-standing US policy priorities. Congress should adopt this bill to promote a just, equitable future for all Israelis and Palestinians.”
“Partners for Progressive Israel is proud to support the Two State Solution Bill introduced by Rep. Levin because it furthers what has been our position for 30 years: that the Two-State Solution is the mechanism by which the State of Israel and a State of Palestine can coexist and settle their differences peacefully,” said Partners for Progressive Israel President Paul Scham. “It is high time that Congress go on record as specifying steps that can lead to that essential outcome.”
“This Act puts into place a number of measures that would better align US foreign policy with the goal of achieving a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine, something that all supporters of Israel should get behind,” said Ameinu President Kenneth Bob. “Stipulating that US aid will not go toward settlement expansion or toward other activities that make it more difficult to achieve a two-state solution is an overdue clarification that serves the cause of peace.”