Bipartisan House Bill Backs Israel's Deals With UAE, Bahrain, Calls on Other States to Join

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Benjamin Netanyahu stands with U.S. President Donald Trump after signing the Abraham Accords, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2020.
Benjamin Netanyahu stands with U.S. President Donald Trump after signing the Abraham Accords, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2020. Credit: TOM BRENNER/ REUTERS

NEW YORK — A bipartisan group of House representatives introduced on Thursday legislation formally supporting the U.S.-brokered agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, calling on other Arab and Muslim states to “support normalization and peace with Israel.”

The resolution also calls to ensure that any weapons sales by the United States to other countries don’t “adversely affect Israel’s ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military.”

The sale of F-35 fighter jets has been a sticking point in the historic normalization talks between Israel and the UAE. Israel, which has the F-35, has balked at any other Middle East powers obtaining the plane, citing U.S. laws that it should maintain a military advantage in the region. However, President Trump told Fox News on Tuesday he would have no problem selling F-35 planes to the Emirates.

The bill is sponsored by two Democrats, New York Congressmen Max Rose and Eliot Engel, who serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and two Republicans, Congressman Lee Zeldin, also from New York, and Congressman Michael McCaul of Texas.

Committee Chairman Eliot Engel arrives to a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing looking into the firing of State Department Inspector General Steven Linick, Washington, D.C., September 16, 2020Credit: Pool / Reuters

The proposed law also stresses "strong support for a negotiated solution to the conflict resulting in two states – a democratic Jewish State of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state – living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a peace treaty with the UAE and a declaration of peace with Bahrain in an official ceremony on the White House south lawn on Tuesday, overseen by U.S. President Donald Trump.

American Jewish groups however remain split on what the signing of the accords will mean for prospects of peace with the Palestinians.

While some, like the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations believe the move brings “real possibilities for a true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” others, such as J Street, warned that a “comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbors in the Arab world will only be achieved through an agreement that resolves the issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Congressman Rose, who recently criticized members of his own party for not vocally supporting what he called “a truly historic event,” said he applauds President Trump and all those who worked to make the signing happen.

“Peace between Israel and its neighbors has long-standing bipartisan support in Congress and among the American people,” Representative Engel said in his statement. “I am hopeful that these agreements can pave the way for future peace and normalization between Israel and other Arab and Muslim countries.”

Congressman McCaul added that the idea that “building relationships between our partners is a major win for U.S. national interests,” is one Democrats and Republicans both agree on.

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