A bipartisan group of lawmakers is seeking to bolster U.S. support for Israel against mounting criticism by introducing an amendment emphasizing America’s continued commitment to providing military aid to its longtime ally.
Two amendments to a resolution backing a two-state solution to the discord between Israel and Palestine affirm the U.S. commitment to providing Israel with $3.8 billion in foreign military financing as well as missile defense assistance. The amendments state the U.S. must “stand by its ironclad commitments” to assist Israel with military aid, as expressed by the 10-year security assistance “memorandum of understanding” the Obama administration reached with Israel in 2016.
Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D., N.J.), Ted Deutch (D., Fla.) and Tom Reed (R., N.Y.) requested the amendments be approved by the Rules Committee for the non-binding resolution.
The resolution has languished since April amid disagreements over the two-state solution.
Over the past year, progressive Democrats have been increasingly open in their criticism of U.S. support for Israel, some going as far as to call a conflict in Gaza a “massacre” of Palestinians.
Meanwhile, deadly military conflicts between Israel and Palestinians continue in the disputed areas, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September announced plans to annex a large section of the occupied West Bank.
The Trump administration has appeared amenable to the proposal and has tentatively supported Netanyahu’s plan.
“Under certain circumstances,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in June, “I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”
“We really don’t have a view until we understand how much, on what terms, why does it make sense, why is it good for Israel, why is it good for the region, why does it not create more problems than it solves,” Friedman said. “These are all things that we’d want to understand, and I don’t want to prejudge.”