What You Need to Know About Andy Levin’s Two-State Solution Bill

September 23, 2021
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On Thursday, September 23rd, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-9) introduced the Two-State Solution Act with over twenty Democratic cosponsors. 

“This is the most significant and meaningful piece of legislation in over a decade when it comes to supporting Israel’s security, supporting Palestinian rights, and supporting Israel’s future as a just and truly democratic homeland for the Jewish people,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami.

The bill seeks to ensure US policies in the region are truly aligned with our ultimate goal of resolving the conflict and with America’s commitment to security, human rights and self-determination for both peoples. It makes clear that the United States should not in any way legitimize or empower the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements or the entrenchment of occupation.

Congressman Levin, a Jewish representative from Michigan with longstanding ties to Israel, stressed that supporting Israel’s security and its future doesn’t mean you have to ignore Palestinian rights or support every action advocated by right-wing Israeli political parties. “I introduced this legislation because as a strong supporter of the two-state solution, I want to make sure that our government’s commitment to achieving that outcome is about meaningful action — not just rhetoric,” Rep. Levin said.

“People would have you believe that you can’t care about both Israelis and Palestinians at the same time. That you have to make a choice. They’re wrong,” Rep. Levin said. “You can stand up for Israel’s future without abandoning your values. The United States can promote peace while pushing back against occupation.”

So what is in the Two-State Solution Act, and how does it align support for Israeli security with support for Israeli democracy, Palestinian rights and a two-state solution? 

The bill empowers the US government to take responsible measures to push back against harmful actions that deepen the occupation and the conflict, undermining prospects for a two-state solution. These measures include: 

  • Declaring settlements to be a violation of Palestinian human rights and international law. 
  • Reversing a number of Trump administration policies — such as the customs rule change that required products made Area C of the West Bank be labeled “Made In Israel”– that encouraged the settlement process and eliminated the distinction between Israel proper and its illegal settlements in the West Bank. 
  • Reaffirming the existing Memorandum of Understanding that guarantees Israel will receive the full amount of US aid necessary to meet its very real security needs, while imposing clear end-use restrictions to ensure that US aid funding can’t be used for actions that promote occupation, settlement expansion or annexation. 

The bill also includes key provisions to promote successful diplomacy and peacebuilding efforts to help lay the groundwork for a two-state solution, including: 

  • Calling for reopening the US consulate in Jerusalem and the PLO General Delegation in Washington, DC. 
  • Supporting critical people-to-people programs for Palestinians and Israelis. 
  • Encouraging and incentivizing Palestinian leaders to fight incitement and reform their prisoner payments programs

On its release, the Two-State Solution Act already had 22 original co-sponsors, including Reps. Don Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Dan Kildee (MI-5), 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-3). The legislation also has the support of a range of progressive Jewish groups and foreign policy advocacy groups, including J Street, Oxfam International, Foreign Policy for America and Americans for Peace Now.

“The impacts this bill will have are hugely important when it comes to pushing back on the occupation, deterring settlement growth, promoting peace and ending the cycle of injustice and violence,” Ben-Ami said. 

“In short, this bill will make sure that our country’s policies line up with our goals and our values,” said Rep. Levin. “It’ll help make sure we’re genuinely working towards peace — and that we’re standing up to those who undermine diplomacy and perpetuate the unacceptable status quo.”

Check if Your Member Supports the Two-State Solution Act

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