(October 2, 2021 / JNS) The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a bipartisan bill on Thursday that aims to build on the Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
H.B. 2748, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) on April 30, requires the U.S. State Department to take certain actions to promote further normalization of relations between Israel, Arab states, and other relevant countries and regions.
The bill was authored by Schneider, along with Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Mike McCaul (R-Texas).
A Senate version of the bill, S. 1061, was introduced on March 25 by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), along with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho). This version of the bill was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June and is awaiting a vote by the Senate.
According to a bill summary by the Congressional Research Service, the legislation would require the State Department to develop a strategy for expanding and strengthening the accords, as well as have the United States encourage further normalization of relations with Israel.
The department must also report on the status of the normalization, in addition to laws in Arab League nations that punish people-to-people relations and provide evidence of Arab governments taking steps in encouraging the normalization of relations between their citizens and Israelis.
AIPAC applauded the committee’s action, tweeting: “Engaging with Israel achieves peace. Boycotting Israel achieves nothing.”
“The House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee have now adopted this bill. AIPAC urges the full House and Senate to pass this important legislation,” it said.
Schneider also thanked his colleagues for helping advance the bill out of committee.
“It is my hope that my bill will lift the chances of peace in the Middle East and provide a better future for all,” he tweeted.
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