Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) has introduced legislation that condemns the Israeli government’s proposed annexation of the West Bank and blocks any U.S. aid that would potentially be used to fund it.
The Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act is endorsed by over 30 progressive organizations and is cosponsored by six other Democratic House members: Reps. Rashida Tlaib (MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ayanna Pressley (MA), Ilhan Omar (MN), Mark Pocan (WI), and Andre Carson (IN).
“I want Palestinians and Israelis to have their human rights respected, their right to self-determination realized, and a future with peace, security, equality, and justice,” said McCollum in a statement, “Annexation is antithetical to these goals and will fuel instability, injustice, and an abhorrent system of apartheid. This is an intolerable outcome for Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans. I reject Israeli annexation. I condemn annexation. And I will work to ensure the U.S. does not support, defend, or legitimize any plan to illegally annex Palestinian lands.”
“For decades, Palestinians, American Jews and allies have demanded that Congress protect Palestinians from Israel’s systemic abuses – and now progressive leaders are stepping up. This legislation ensures that the U.S. government will reject and never recognize any illegal annexation of Palestinian land by Israel. It’s a critical step toward justice and accountability,” said JVP Action Executive Director Stefanie Fox.
Last month, The Democratic Party’s platform committee voted down an amendment that would have added the word “occupation” to the platform and called for the conditioning of military aid to Israel. Eight Palestinian-American delegates sent a letter to the committee, expressing their frustration with the final version of the platform. “Expressing unwavering support for a country that continues to thumb its nose at international law while it steals Palestinian land, entrenches apartheid, and denies our families’ basic human rights is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to us; it is unacceptable to a growing majority of the Democratic Party; and it should be unacceptable to every American who aims for true freedom, justice, human rights, and democracy,” it read.
According to a report from Foreign Policy, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden intervened personally to make sure the word “occupation” was not included. Although Biden says he’s opposed to annexation, he is also against conditioning aid to Israel. “Look, I have been on record from very early on opposed to settlements, and I think it’s a mistake. And Netanyahu knows my position. But the idea that we would draw military assistance from Israel, on the condition that they change a specific policy, I find it to be absolutely outrageous,” he told a reporter on the campaign trail.
Last year, Rep. McCollum introduced H.R.2407, a historic bill that would prohibit Israel from using U.S. funds to detain and prosecute children.