Palestine Israel

In December, President Trump announced that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy there, breaking with decades of U.S. policy and bringing to a halt any U.S. role in negotiating a peace agreement.

Israel maintains strong support in the U.S. Congress, with the proposed year-end spending bill giving Israel an additional $700 million for missile defense programs, on top of the yearly $3.1 billion in military aid. But cracks in that support are starting to show.

In November, Rep. McCollum (D-Minn.) introduced H.R. 4391, the first bill in Congress concerning the rights of Palestinians. As of this writing, the bill has 19 co-sponsors. We need your help as grassroots advocates to get as many members of Congress signed on in support, to send a strong signal that the rights of all peoples in the region matter.

In addition, 11 House members and 10 senators signed onto letters raising concerns about Palestinian villages threatened with demolition. In the summer 32 members of the House signed a letter in support of Issa Amro, a Palestinian human rights defender and a similar Senate letter had four signers.

In the coming months, there could well be a push to pass the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (H.R. 1697, S. 720), which would criminalize the use of economic measures against Israel or settlements. In November, leaders of 17 national faith-based organizations and denominations stated their opposition to the bill, including MCC U.S. and Mennonite Church USA.

In July, nearly every delegate to the Mennonite Church USA convention stood in support of the “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine” resolution. Now that the resolution has passed, our office will continue working with the denomination to help implement it. –Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach