Friday, September 24, 2021

US Democrats introduce bill backing ‘end to Israel’s occupation’ | Al Jazeera

Democratic Party legislators in the United States have introduced a bill affirming support for the two-state solution and calling for “robust oversight” on US aid to Israel to ensure it is not used in human rights violations.

The proposed legislation, introduced by Congressman Andy Levin on Thursday, would make it US policy to clearly distinguish between Israel and the Palestinian territory that it occupies, including East Jerusalem.

The bill also calls on the US government to maintain diplomatic relations with Palestinians by reopening the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, DC, and the American consulate in East Jerusalem – both shuttered by former President Donald Trump.

Joe Biden had promised to re-establish ties with Palestinians, but eight months into his presidency the consulate in occupied East Jerusalem has yet to reopen.

“The bill makes clear that assistance to help Israel address its very real security challenges should continue without $1-loss,” Levin said during a news conference in Washington, DC, unveiling the bill.

“But it cannot be used in a manner that violates internationally recognised human rights, or for activities that perpetuate the occupation or enable de facto – or heaven knows de jure – annexation.”

Levin of Michigan said Congress having a say over how US taxpayer money is spent is “nothing new”, but in this case, it is “essential if we’re serious about achieving a two-state solution and upholding the human rights of Israelis and Palestinians alike”.

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