Ted Cruz blocks bill advancing Arab-Israeli normalization in dispute over language – .

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Ted Cruz blocks bill advancing Arab-Israeli normalization in dispute over language – .


JTA – US Senator Ted Cruz blocks progress on a bill that would promote normalization between Israel and the Arab states because it includes language enshrining a two-state solution as the US’s preferred outcome to the Israeli conflict- Palestinian.

Cruz proposes amended wording that does not remove the reference to a two-state outcome, but makes it clear that this should be Israel’s prerogative.

“Senator Cruz thinks that America should support our allies and that it is not for American diplomats to dictate to our allies what to do with their sovereign territory,” a spokesperson for Cruz said on Thursday. , a Republican from Texas, at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

“Until recently, there was a bipartisan agreement in Congress requiring the support of our Israeli allies in the negotiations, but this bill is a radical change that would change US policy from supporting Israel to pressuring Israel. Senator Cruz is opposed to this change.

Cruz is using his prerogative as a senator to prevent the bill’s speedy passage, the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative media outlet, first reported. JTA confirmed the move.

Otherwise, there is bipartisan support for the bill, which has a Republican, Rob Portman of Ohio, as its primary sponsor. The measure would force the U.S. government to build on the success of last year’s Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Morocco and Bahrain, and which were negotiated. by the Trump administration. The accords are one of the few areas of foreign policy agreement between the Trump and Biden administrations.

Last month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee presented the bill to the entire Senate. Cruz had supported the measure before the addition of the two-state language, shortly before it was considered by the committee.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (left) and Senator Bill Hagerty in Jerusalem on June 1, 2021 (Haim Zach / GPO)

An official in Cruz’s office told JTA that the senator will lift the block if the sponsors again consider his amendment to change the language. Only two other Republican senators on the committee joined Cruz in favor of the amendment.

Cruz’s manager told JTA that Cruz would lift his block on the bill even if the amendment was rejected again.

The language now indicates that it is US policy “to support a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.”

Cruz’s amended wording would indicate that it is the policy of the United States “to support the Government of Israel in its continued efforts to achieve a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states living side by side in peace. , security and mutual recognition ”.

The official pointed to wording in existing laws relating to US-Israel cooperation that refers to supporting Israel in its efforts to achieve a two-state solution, but does not enshrine the two-state outcome as US policy.

J Street, the liberal Jewish political group in the Middle East, lambasted Cruz for using his senatorial prerogative to block the bill.

“The vast majority of American Jews and most American voters support a two-state solution,” J Street Director of Government Affairs Debra Shushan said in a statement this week.

“Unfortunately for Senator Cruz, like the status quo of occupation and injustice in Palestinian territory, this position is untenable. A majority of Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree that a comprehensive two-state peace agreement is the only way to ensure that the Israeli and Palestinian people can have freedom, self-determination and security. ”

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