Sen. Cruz Issues Statement on S. Res 709

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I issued a statement yesterday regarding S. Res. 709, "A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the August 13, 2020, and September 11, 2020, announcements of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain are historic achievements."

The bipartisan resolution rightly acknowledges that historic peace agreement, which I have repeatedly and enthusiastically celebrated. The resolution also, however, attempts to refocus American diplomacy on a Palestinian state and expresses the Senate's "strong support" for a "two state" solution between Israel and the Palestinians. I do not agree with the United States attempting to dictate a "two-state" solution, and think it was a serious mistake for the resolution to include that language.

Sen. Cruz explained:

"The Abraham Accords were an historic accomplishment that shattered the fossilized assumptions, bureaucratic inertia, and all too often anti-Israel direction that marked American diplomacy in the Middle East over the last several decades. I privately and publicly urged our Israeli and Arab allies to move toward them, and whole-heartedly support them.

"For far too long, the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been treated as the central conflict in the Middle East, which had to be solved before normalization between Israel and Arab states could progress. So American diplomats, including then-Secretary of State Kerry and other Obama-Biden administration officials, arrogantly pressured our Israeli allies to make dangerous concessions to Palestinian terrorists and to submit Israel's security to a mandated ‘two-state solution.'

"Throughout my time in the Senate, I have insisted that this approach was deeply misguided, that it gave the Palestinians a veto over progress in the region, and that if we signaled America's unequivocal support for Israel that it would break the logjam in the region by giving our allies the confidence to normalize relations.

"The Abraham Accords powerfully demonstrated the correctness of my approach, and that the Obama-Biden diplomats were unambiguously wrong to elevate their desire for a Palestinian state over the broader objectives of Middle-East peace.

"President Trump wisely pursued the policy I had urged-including, critically, moving our embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over territory over which Israel took control in 1967 like the Golan Heights-and the historic success of the Abraham Accords vindicates that position. The Middle East is moving forward at a pace almost no one anticipated and, while the Palestinians should absolutely make peace with Israel, they will be increasingly marginalized if they continue to pursue violence instead of negotiations.

"Israel is a sovereign nation, and America has no business trying to dictate the terms of any agreement with the Palestinians. If Israel decides it is in its own best interest to agree to a ‘two-state' solution, it will choose to do so. But the United States should not try to pressure Israel into that outcome.

"S. Res. 709 expresses ‘strong support' for a ‘two-state' solution-which, no doubt, was the price for Senate Democrats' support. I believe including that language was a serious mistake. Democrats have after all resisted any effort to acknowledge the historical, paradigm-shifting importance of the Abraham Accords, and all of them even and unfortunately boycotted the White House ceremony honoring those Accords.

"Nevertheless, I am co-sponsoring the overall resolution because it is important to celebrate the Abraham Accords, and to acknowledge their historic importance. I am glad that so many Senate Democrats have now echoed that sentiment."

BACKGROUND:

In September, I joined President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani at a White House signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords, historic agreements to normalize relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

In the past eight years, I have resolved to be Israel's strongest defender in the Senate. In 2017, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and I introduced the Safeguard Israel Act to cut off funding to the United Nations until Resolution 2334 is repealed. In 2018, I attended the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. In 2019, I introduced a resolution with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and commended the administration's decision to recognize the reality of Israeli control over communities in territories Israel has controlled since June 1967. At the same time, I have led the fight in the Senate to shred the Obama-Iran nuclear deal and has called for the collapse of the Iranian regime.

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