Why I Introduced the Two-State Solution Act

Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) Image
Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09)
on September 28, 2021
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Last week I introduced a new bill to Congress — the Two-State Solution Act —  to support peace, justice and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians. It’s a bill designed to make sure American policy truly matches our goals and values.

This is a truly important and deeply personal bill for me. 

As a Jewish American, I was raised with a strong attachment to Israel. In my twenties, I helped organize an interfaith delegation to Israel and Palestine. It was an experience that brought the urgency, pain and injustice of the status quo into stark relief.

Years later, I had the privilege of again visiting Israel and Palestine on a J Street Education Fund congressional delegation. I met with so many amazing activists whose work inspired and moved me.

But I also saw how little had changed in the decades since my first trip — and how, if anything, the injustices on the ground and obstacles to peace had only grown worse. It’s a cycle that reinforced to me that as leaders and people who truly care about the future of Israelis and Palestinians, we can’t afford to just pay lip service to peace, justice and self-determination without actually doing something to help make it happen.

I’m reminded of this every time an escalation in Gaza puts so many Israeli and Palestinian lives at risk. Every time a home demolition in occupied territory destroys a family’s dreams. Every time a terror attack sends Israelis rushing into bomb shelters and pours fuel on the fire of injustice, retaliation and conflict. Every time a new settlement pushes Palestinian self-determination further from reach.

Year by year, I worry that we’re watching our shared dream of Israel as a just and truly democratic homeland slipping further and further from view — and watching as Palestinian rights are trampled by the systemic injustice of endless occupation. 

I worry that for all our good intentions, the US hasn’t done enough to make things better.

That’s why I introduced the Two-State Solution Act — a bill designed to help reverse that trend.

What’s in the Two-State Solution Act

As with any conversation on this topic, it’s fair to expect a significant amount of noise and misinformation. That’s why I want to be especially clear about what this bill does and doesn’t do:

  • The Two-State Solution Act makes clear that the United States believes settlements in occupied territory violate international law and Palestinian human rights.
  • The bill officially reverses destructive steps taken by President Trump that legitimized illegal settlements and erased the distinction between Israel and the territory it occupies.
  • It reaffirms support for current levels of security assistance to Israel while applying clear end-use restrictions on this aid to ensure it can only be used for legitimate security needs — and cannot be diverted to support the expansion of settlements and creeping annexation of Palestinian territory.
  • The bill supports the restoration of diplomatic engagement by urging the reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem and encouraging the reopening of the PLO mission in Washington, DC.
  • The legislation also invests in crucial people-to-people peace-building programs for Israelis and Palestinians, and calls for Palestinian leaders to fight incitement and reform their prisoner payments program.

Taken together, I believe these steps will show the United States is serious about Israeli-Palestinian peace, addressing root causes of the conflict, and pushing back on destructive policies that aim to prevent a two-state solution from ever becoming reality.

Meaningful Action 

There’s no doubt the overwhelming majority of my colleagues support a two-state solution. There’s no doubt the Biden administration, like most administrations prior to Trump, also supports a two-state solution. There’s no doubt that it would be embraced by the region and pave the way for stronger, sustainable partnerships within the Middle East.

The question is, what are we doing to make it a reality? What are we doing to push back against destructive policies — like settlements, annexation, demolitions and incitement — that fuel a cycle of injustice, retaliation, violence and endless occupation?

That’s what this new bill is about. It’s about making sure that the United States is part of the solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and not part of the problem.

It’s about making sure that the two-state solution isn’t just a talking point or a pipe dream, but a true goal that we’re striving for every day, never losing sight of the fact that every day that goes by without progress is another day of injustice and danger for millions of people.

I think this bill truly has the capacity to help put US policy on this conflict back on the right path (and not just because I authored it!). 

Already, the bill has over 20 co-sponsors in the House, and I want to thank each and every one of them for supporting this important legislation. As of writing, co-sponsors include Representatives Don Beyer, Earl Blumenauer, Joaquin Castro, Steve Cohen, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Gerry Connolly, Lloyd Doggett, Anna Eshoo, Jared Huffman, Sara Jacobs, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ro Khanna, Dan Kildee, Annie Kuster, Barbara Lee, Alan Lowenthal, Jim McGovern, David Price, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky, Jackie Speier, Peter Welch and John Yarmuth.

I also want to thank all those who have shown their support for this legislation and who have helped create the political space for a principled, values-driven vision of leadership on this issue. Together, we’re showing that the overwhelming majority of voters support peace, justice and self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians, and refuse to accept a future of endless conflict.

Check if Your Member Supports the Two-State Solution Act

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