Mr. MARKEY. Madam Speaker, I rise to express my support for House Resolution 268, which reaffirms the United States' longstanding policy of support for Israel and a fair, negotiated conclusion to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This resolution clearly describes the final outcome that the United States has envisioned for so long: two democratic states--one Israeli, one Palestinian--living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.
Attempts by the Palestinians to circumvent direct negotiations between the two nations, most recently through attempts to hold a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood, have greatly undermined the peace process. The United States must continue to oppose such one-sided attempts and work to ensure that the final peace settlement is reached through fair negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The resolution also confirms the United States' refusal to recognize any Palestinian government that has not publicly and formally renounced terrorism. This declaration is especially important in the wake of the recent union of the Fatah and Hamas factions, the latter of which the United States and the European Union deem a terrorist organization. Peace talks cannot continue until Palestinian leaders dismantle all terrorist infrastructure embodied within Hamas, take all necessary steps to counter incitements to violence, and accept
Israel's right to exist. This position is in keeping with current American policy, including statutory requirements for U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority.
I believe strongly in the need to protect the lives of innocent civilians on both sides of the conflict, including the need to recognize and promptly address the dire humanitarian needs of Palestinians living in the Gaza strip. I strongly condemn the actions of Hamas, which has embedded its fighters and leaders in private homes and mosques as they use Palestinian civilians as human shields, target Israeli civilians, and force Israel to take decisive action in the Gaza Strip to protect its population living under the daily threat of rocket attacks. The United States should continue to pressure Hamas to abandon its reckless endangerment of both the Palestinian and the Israeli people, and to fully renounce violence so that humanitarian aid to Gaza can continue and true peace talks can proceed. It is only through such peace talks that the two countries will be able to reach a negotiated settlement that will bring peace, security, and stability to the Israelis and Palestinians.