Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives assembled at Capitol Hill to celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem.
Among those who took part in the festivities was freshman Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.), who mentioned he had crafted a bipartisan bill to honor the 50th anniversary of end of the Six-Day War and Israel's reunification of its eternal capital, Jerusalem. He had introduced the bill earlier in the day.
"For centuries, the Jewish people yearned to pray at the Western Wall, the only remaining connection to the Great Temple destroyed in 70 A.D., a cry that infused their daily prayers," he said in his speech to introduce the bill. "Fifty years ago, in 1967, this mere hope became a reality when Jerusalem was finally reunified at the conclusion of the Six-Day War.
"Of that precious moment, Yitzhak Rabin recounted: 'We stood among a tangle of rugged, battle-weary men who were unable to believe their eyes or restrain their emotions. Their eyes were moist with tears, their speech incoherent. The overwhelming desire was to cling to the Wall, to hold on to that great moment as long as possible.'
"The reunification of Jerusalem restored the city as a beacon of religious freedom for all of the Abrahamic religions and the rights of Jews, Muslims, and Christians to pray at their respective holy sites. We share the joy of our brothers and sisters as we celebrate this special milestone and as we continue to strive for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.
"In a world of increasing instability, our enduring relationship with Israel was never more vital, and I am honored to stand with our close friend and ally."
Did you happen to catch the big—perhaps fatal—flaw in Suozzi's bill? That's right ... the "two-state solution" language.
The resolution, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), states:
Whereas June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem;
Whereas Jerusalem has been the focal point of Jewish religious devotion and the site of a continuous Jewish presence for over three millennia, with a Jewish majority since at least 1896;
Whereas Jerusalem is also a holy city for the Christian and Muslim faiths;
Whereas from 1948 to 1967 Jerusalem was a divided city, and Israeli citizens of all faiths as well as Jews of all nationalities were denied access to holy sites in eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City, in which the Western Wall is located;
Whereas since 1967, the rights of all faiths have been respected, and people of all faiths have been permitted to visit their holy sites;
Whereas Israel has continued to be one of America's closest and most reliable allies; and
Whereas it is the long-standing policy of the United States to see a durable and sustainable peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians resulting in two states: a Jewish, democratic state living side by side next to a demilitarized Palestinian state in peace and security: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) recognizes the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem;
(2) re-affirms its support for Israel's commitment to religious freedom and protection of holy sites in Jerusalem;
(3) continues to support strengthening the mutually beneficial American-Israeli alliance;
(4) commends Egypt and Jordan, former combatant states of the Six Day War, who in subsequent years had the wisdom and courage to embrace a vision of peace and coexistence with Israel and have continued to respect their respective peace agreements; and
(5) urges all parties in the Middle East to rededicate themselves to finding a sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that results in two states living side by side in peace and security.
The biggest issue with the language of the resolution is that in order to fulfill the objectives of the "two-state solution," Jerusalem would have to be divided once again along the pre-1967 boundaries. Quite the way to celebrate it's reunification.
It's not immediately clear if Suozzi was being purposely deceptive, or if he's just totally unfamiliar with the issue. Rooney, while also a House freshman, is, on the other hand, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican—and should be extremely well versed on the issues surrounding the "two-state solution," which also violates the Republican Party Platform.
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