Surprise debate on pro-Israel resolution

Debate on a congressional resolution congratulating Israel on 40 years of a reunified Jerusalem focused on the troubled peace process.

The U.S. House of Representatives was sparsely attended Tuesday, June 5, when the non-binding resolution introduced by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo) the Jewish chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), its ranking member, was considered.

Many of those who spoke cast the resolution in terms of the unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict 40 years after the Six-Day War. “It is also important we use this anniversary to highlight the work that still needs to be done,” said Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego), who is Jewish. Davis reiterated her call on President Bush to name a special envoy to the region

Other Jewish Democrats echoing her concerns were Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who recalled his childhood in Israel, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), a senior Appropriations Committee member who recently led a congressional tour of Israel, concluded his remarks hoping for “a revitalized Jerusalem, undivided and shared as the capital of Israel and an independent Palestinian state, where Jews, Muslims and Christians live together in peace and mutually honor the sites sacred to all of us.”

The resolution, which had only 14 sponsors, passed by voice vote, and Lantos and Ros-Lehtinen refrained from asking for a head count, which is unusual for pro-Israel resolutions.