A delegation of 24 Democrats from the US House of Representatives arrived in Israel and the West Bank on Monday for a week-long visit to discuss the prospects for a two-state solution, Israel’s judicial reforms, and other regional issues.
The group is led by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who said they wanted to reaffirm the strong bipartisan support for Israel in the US Congress and to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing both Israelis and Palestinians.
“While in Israel and the West Bank, the Members will hold high-level meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, meet with various activists and stakeholders and spend meaningful time in areas important to the security of the region,” Jeffries’ office said in a statement.
The delegation will also meet with representatives of civil society, human rights, and media organizations, as well as young entrepreneurs and innovators, to hear diverse perspectives on the current situation and the future prospects for peace.
One of the main topics on the agenda is the need for a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has been stalled for almost a decade amid mutual distrust and violence. The US Democrats support President Joe Biden’s policy of restoring dialogue and cooperation with both sides, as well as resuming humanitarian and economic assistance to the Palestinians that was cut off by the previous administration.
The delegation will also focus on Israel’s judicial reforms, which have sparked controversy and protests in the country. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition have proposed a series of bills that would limit the power of the Supreme Court, which they accuse of interfering with their political agenda and undermining democracy. Critics say the bills would undermine the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, as well as erode the checks and balances on the executive branch.
The US Democrats have expressed concern about the potential impact of these reforms on Israel’s democratic institutions and values, as well as on its international reputation and relations. They will seek to understand the rationale behind them and to urge respect for the separation of powers and human rights.
Iran Nuclear Deal
Another issue that will be discussed is Iran’s nuclear program, which poses a threat to Israel’s security and stability in the region. The US Democrats support Biden’s efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal that was abandoned by former President Donald Trump, while also addressing Iran’s other malign activities, such as its ballistic missile program and its support for proxy groups. They will also explore ways to enhance cooperation and coordination with Israel on countering Iran’s aggression and preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The visit by the US Democratic delegation comes at a time of heightened tension and violence in the West Bank, where Israeli security forces have killed several Palestinian militants in recent days, prompting threats of retaliation by Palestinian factions. The US Democrats have condemned the attacks and called for restraint and de-escalation by both sides. They have also expressed solidarity with Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism, while also calling for respect for human rights and international law.
The delegation hopes that their visit will demonstrate their commitment to Israel’s security and well-being, as well as their support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians. They also hope to foster greater understanding and trust between the two peoples, as well as between their respective allies in Washington.