WASHINGTON – More than two dozen House Democrats on Thursday introduced perhaps the most thorough piece of legislation to date aimed at detailing how the United States can help preserve and push for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

The brainchild of Rep. Andy Levin, the Two-State Solution Act is meant to both accelerate progress toward such a solution while discouraging actions that put it out of reach. While unlikely to pass, it is the most crystallized vision presented by lawmakers who consider themselves supporters of Israel while remaining openly critical of the occupation.

“The United States has, under Democratic and Republican administrations since 2002, supported a two-state solution. In the wake of this year’s deadly conflict, we must move beyond professing support for such a solution – we must act to make it so,” Levin said in a statement. “Only a two-state solution can both ensure Israel’s survival as a democratic state and a national home for the Jewish people, and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.”

Co-sponsors on the bill include Reps. Joaquin Castro, Jared Huffman, Sara Jacobs, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee, Alan Lowenthal, Peter Welch, Jan Schakowsky and John Yarmuth.

Lowenthal said that “we cannot put the search for a two-state solution on the back burner. Peace without a lasting and just solution to the conflict is an illusion. It is not sustainable.

“No matter how difficult the road ahead may seem, only a Palestinian state can guarantee dignity and justice to the Palestinian people, without the burdens of occupation,” added the California congressman, who authored the only recent piece of legislation passed by the House expressly opposing annexation of Palestinian territory and Israeli settlement expansion.

Castro, meanwhile, warned that “the status quo of endless occupation is unacceptable and unsustainable. The United States should help accelerate progress toward a two-state solution – the only way to secure Israel’s future as both a Jewish state and democracy while also respecting the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. As a member of Congress, I have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer money advances our values and interests abroad, and this legislation led by Rep. Andy Levin is a thoughtful and constructive approach to bring an end to repeated cycles of violence that have persisted for decades.”

Many of the bill’s co-sponsors are part of the silent majority of Democratic lawmakers who insist that the so-called Democratic divide on Israel has been greatly exaggerated, and that the two warring factions simply represent extremes.

Democratic lawmakers, officials and staffers have long discussed how to make their voices heard and reclaim the narrative after years of polarization and shifting politics in both countries.

“I believe there is space in American politics to be a pro-Israel, pro-peace and human rights progressive. This bill is a vision for that,” Khanna said.

Politico first reported details of the content of the legislation, which, first and foremost, aims to draw a clear distinction between Israel and occupied Palestinian territory – including reversing Trump-era policies that removed or muddled such designations.

Several of the organizations endorsing the Levin bill have pushed the Biden administration to revoke the Trump policy of labeling exports to the U.S. from Israeli settlements as “Product of Israel” or similar phrasing.

“The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza are occupied territories and should be referred to as such consistently in official United States policies, communications and documents,” the bill reads, calling for products produced in the occupied territories to be marked with either “West Bank” or “Gaza” and not contain the word “Israel.”

Welch noted that “after the reckless actions by the previous administration and the violence in the region last spring, it is clear that the United States must do more to help bring the two sides together, not push them further apart.”

The Vermont congressman added that “this bill helps do that by reaffirming our commitment to a two-state solution and expressing solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians striving for peace and self-determination.”

Jacobs, too, highlighted how the post-Trump moment presents a unique chance to reset the table. “In the wake of the Trump and Netanyahu administrations’ counterproductive and one-sided policy making a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict less likely, we have a unique opportunity to rebuild and reorient U.S. policy and leadership to promote peace,” the first-term California congresswoman said.

The bill further reaffirms U.S. security assistance to Israel while calling for robust oversight on where the assistance goes. It also stipulates that such aid, under the Security Assistance Act of 2000 and the Arms Export Control Act, is not authorized to be used in a way that perpetuates the occupation nor enables de facto or de jure annexation.

Levin’s bill also dedicates much attention to strengthening Palestinian civil society, outlining the need for programming that promotes human rights, democracy and rule of law, and authorizing dedicated funding for such programming via authorization from either the secretary of state or the U.S. Agency for International Development administrator. It similarly authorizes funding and enhances people-to-people programming for Israelis and Palestinians, particularly relating to shared educational opportunities and youth activities.

Perhaps most notably, it incentivizes Palestinian compliance with the Taylor Force Act, which limits U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority over its payments to convicted terrorists and their families. Upon compliance, the bill provides a path for the Palestine Liberation Organization to be no longer designated as a terrorist organization. It also encourages the reopening of both the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and the PLO foreign mission in Washington.

Left-wing, pro-Israel organizations such as J Street and Americans for Peace Now endorsed Levin’s legislation. Debra Shushan, J Street’s director of government affairs, said the bill makes clear that “true support for the two-state solution must go beyond mere rhetoric and lip service, and into the realm of action to effect real change.”

“By meaningfully pushing back against occupation and the policies that entrench it, the bill aims to advance U.S. interests, promote Palestinian rights and help secure Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people,” Shushan added.

Americans for Peace Now President and CEO Hadar Susskind said the legislation clarifies that the Democratic caucus and party, and the U.S. government in general, are committed to two states. “It’s really important that this is a piece of legislation – not a letter or a resolution – actually laying out what we should do to uphold that belief. There’s been bipartisan failure for years on taking the rhetoric and turning into action, and Rep. Levin has identified a path forward on how to take action to uphold positions,” he said.