Omar, McCollum, Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Pocan Introduce Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act to Prohibit U.S. Recognition, Aid if Palestinian Lands Are Illegally Annexed

August 14, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON– Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) today introduced the Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act, a bill to prohibit the United States from formally recognizing or providing U.S. aid to any area of the occupied West Bank annexed by the Government of Israel in violation of international law.

“Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and have a right to self-determination,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05) said. “Annexation is land theft and an aggressive exercise of unilateral power. Government funds are a direct reflection of our values and we must ensure that tax dollars are not used to legitimize annexation. Our foreign policy approach must center the rights of all human beings, including both Israelis and Palestinians. We must work to end the occupation and secure genuine rights and freedoms for Palestinians.”

“I want Palestinians and Israelis to have their human rights respected, their right to self-determination realized, and a future with peace, security, equality, and justice,” Rep. McCollum (MN-04) said. “Annexation is antithetical to these goals and will fuel instability, injustice, and an abhorrent system of apartheid. This is an intolerable outcome for Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans. I reject Israeli annexation. I condemn annexation. And I will work to ensure the U.S. does not support, defend, or legitimize any plan to illegally annex Palestinian lands.”

“A budget is a moral document and as congressional representatives, it is our duty to ensure that the values we strive for in this country are reflected in our budgets,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) said. “The Netanyahu government receives $3.8 billion in US taxpayer-funded military handouts every year and, with the backing of the impeached President, they have worked to further entrench an apartheid system. Our tax dollars – which we ought to prioritize to fund health care or replace lead water pipes – should not be used to perpetuate and entrench human rights violations in Palestine, including limitations on freedom of movement, further expansion of illegal land theft, home demolitions, and cutting off access to critical resources like clean water. I am proud today to join with Rep. McCollum to say clearly: enough is enough. Whether within our own borders or abroad, we will no longer accept that our national budget be spent on human rights violations. We must make prioritized investments that promote health and social justice for all instead.”

“This bill is an extension of our values, grounded in human rights, international law, and a commitment to freedom, equality, and justice for all people,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) said. “Our willingness to stand by these ideals and live our values, no matter at home or abroad, is paramount in the future we look to create. We cannot simply object to annexation in word.”

“Our budgets are statements of our values, and we must state definitively and unapologetically that our US taxpayer dollars will not be used to support the unilateral annexation and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) said. “As the United States continues to reckon with its own systemic inequities and engages in a national conversation about racial injustice and the value of Black and brown lives, we must be consistent in our commitment to dismantling systemic racism globally and the policies that perpetuate it.”

“The Israeli government’s continued unilateral attempts to violate the human rights of the Palestinian people should be condemned and rejected,” Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) said. “Greenlit by the Trump administration, Netanyahu has consistently served as a roadblock to peace and a two-state solution. The Israeli and Palestinian people shouldn’t be forced through another decade of instability because of the actions of an autocrat. Palestinians and Israelis deserve to live peacefully, thus Congress must oppose U.S. funding for annexation.”

Responding to reports claiming annexation is “off the table” as part of a peace agreement to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates, Congresswoman McCollum made the following statement:

“Yesterday’s diplomatic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates changes nothing. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump have taken nothing off the table. Their promises and commitments are worthless because they have both proven, time and time again, that they cannot be trusted.”

Background:

Democrats in Congress, led by the courageous and righteous co-sponsors of this bill, must act to send an unambiguous message that annexation is contrary to U.S. interests and would devastate the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship. The Palestinian people deserve the support of Congress and the American people in this dark moment. If our nation is truly a beacon of democracy, then let us use our power for good to protect the Palestinian people from Netanyahu’s illegal annexation. Read Congresswoman McCollum’s full Statement for the Record here.

Original co-sponsors of the bill are: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05), and Rep. Andre Carson (IN-07). 

The bill is supported by over 30 organizations including Demand Progress, Win Without War, Just Foreign Policy, Norwegian Refugee Council, Arab American Institute, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Center for Constitutional Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Defense for Children International - Palestine, American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, Churches for Middle East Peace, MPower Change, IfNotNow, Institute for Policy Studies-New Internationalism Project, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Democratic Socialists of America, Presbyterian Church USA, National Council of Churches, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office, The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society, and others.

The text of the Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act can be found here. Background information on the bill is available here.

 

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