Resolution was flawed
On July 7, the U.S. House of Representatives considered H. Res. 268, a resolution regarding Israel and Palestine. Instead of supporting or opposing this resolution, I decided to vote “present,” because I agreed with some provisions, but found others problematic.
I strongly agree with many of the resolution’s principles. For example, I steadfastly support a two-state solution and believe all parties must come together to reach a negotiated settlement. I have consistently called upon Hamas to recognize Israel and revise its charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction and makes anti-Semitic references. Hamas’ rocket fire into Israel and five-year detention of Gilad Shalit are completely unacceptable, and are blatant violations of the human rights values I hold dear.
My concern with the resolution regards clauses that come dangerously close to cutting off U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. This is not a minor issue. I disagree with the tone and substance of this part of the resolution.
American aid to the Palestinian Authority, for example, helped train security forces in the West Bank that even the Israel Defense Forces credit for a significant drop in violence and terror against Israelis. Funding and technical support from USAID has helped create jobs and positively develop the Palestinian economy. Furthermore, it is my hope and expectation that moderate voices will prevail in next year’s Palestinian elections. I am concerned that the resolution’s policy provisions will undercut this goal.
I fear that cutting off aid will weaken Palestinian moderates, embolden Hamas, and invite the patronage of the Iranian regime.
The resolution cites multiple Palestinian shortcomings, but not a single Israeli one. There is no provision highlighting Israel’s continued expansion of settlements on land that must become a Palestinian state for the sake of Palestine and Israel.
I am committed to a balanced perspective that is pro-peace. I will continue my strong advocacy for a two-state solution so that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace, security and prosperity.
Keith M. Ellison, Congressman, 5th District of Minnesota
Columnist is a hater
I was shocked when I read Akiva Eldar’s article, “After 18 years, the Oslo Accords are all but dead” (7-8-11 AJW). In his vicious hatred of what he calls the “most right-wing government Israel has ever seen,” Eldar goes so far as to express his hope that the Palestinians are not tempted to give up on the United Nations vote for a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders, and return to negotiations, a “trap” that Dennis Ross, President Obama’s special envoy, is trying to drag them into.
Eldar also derides Ross for trying to have the Palestinians “recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people — in other words, as his country, though [Ross] was born in San Francisco, more than that of Palestinian Authority President Abbas, who was born in Safed.”
In other words, Eldar is saying that Israel should not claim to be a Jewish state. He advises Abbas to forget about negotiations until Netanyahu agrees that the “permanent borders will be based on the 1967 lines with agreed-upon changes,” ignoring the fact that 320,000 Jews are living in West Bank settlements and another 180,000 Jews in eastern Jerusalem. This is a fact any Israeli government has to deal with.
We are told that in the year 70 C.E., Jerusalem was destroyed because of sinat chinam, unjustified hatred. What Eldar writes is due to his unjustified hate of what he calls the “right wing.”
Max Goodman, St. Paul