Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of a resolution reaffirming the United States' commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that results in two states. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I believe that there is only one lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a future of two states for two peoples, living in security and peace with one another. Such a solution is in the best interests of regional peace, and in the best interests of both parties to the conflict. That is why I strongly believe that ensuring the long term viability of the Jewish, democratic state of Israel also requires supporting a homeland for the Palestinian people.
“History teaches us that, in conflicts such as this one, peace must be negotiated. It cannot be imposed from the outside, or else it will rest on an unstable and temporary foundation. That is why I strongly oppose Palestinian efforts to impose a solution to the conflict at the United Nations, as well as Palestinian efforts to unilaterally declare statehood. I’m concerned that a unilateral declaration will only encourage both sides to dig in, and put a lasting, negotiated peace further away than ever. As President Obama said on May 19: ‘For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.’ I believe he’s absolutely right.
“By passing this resolution, the House will make clear that it agrees: that a real peace can only come through negotiations between the two sides; that peace will only last if both sides buy into it. We all know that those negotiations will be difficult; they will be painful, and they will require courage and sacrifice on both sides. But the hard way is also the right way—and if there is to be any hope of peace, both sides must return to the table without preconditions.
“I urge my colleagues to support this resolution. And I will continue to urge America’s allies to stand against quick, unilateral, and ultimately unstable solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”