DNC advances final platform version, Israel related draft stays unchanged

The committee rejected a suggested amendment to condition US assistance to Israel, so "no US aid may be used to facilitate annexation or to violate Palestinians rights."

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gestures after disembarking from a plane upon landing at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel March 8, 2016 (photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gestures after disembarking from a plane upon landing at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel March 8, 2016
(photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)
The platform committee for the Democratic National Committee discussed on Monday a series of amendments before voting on the entire document. The Israel-related language remained unchanged.
The committee rejected a suggested amendment to condition US assistance to Israel, so “no US aid may be used to facilitate annexation or to violate Palestinians rights.” The motion also included the word “occupation,” a term that did not appear in the original draft. The measure was rejected after 117 members opposed it, 34 voted in favor and five abstained.
Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, and former Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who took part in drafting the foreign policy chapter, both addressed the committee and called to oppose the measure.
Shapiro noted that the draft includes opposition to the annexation of parts of the West Bank, and calls to restore diplomatic ties and to restore US aid to the Palestinians. “While we understand that those concerns have not been addressed to the full satisfaction of all parties, we believe we have taken significant and overdue strides while sustaining the unity of our Party,” Shapiro said.
“We should not let disagreements about words or specific policies threaten our party unity, especially at a time when the current administration has chosen to ignore Palestinians and is so uninterested in pursuing a credible path to a two-state solution,” the former ambassador continued. “Our platform draws a sharp distinction from the failed approach of the Trump administration. It makes a clear credible commitment to help bring an end to a conflict that has brought so much pain to so many Palestinians and Israelis.”
“Israel has no better friend than Joe Biden,” said Sherman. “[Biden’s] commitment to Israel’s security is and will remain ironclad.” She noted that Israel is facing critical threats from every direction. “Our assistance to Israel is a mutually beneficial investment. One that protects Israel against very real threats and helps promote security and stability in the region.”
She added that “friends also have to be direct with one another,” and noted that the former vice president “has been extremely clear that he opposes annexation and will continue to oppose it as president.”
Sherman said the United States should be a force behind progress toward the goal of two states. “Conditioning American military aid, on the other hand, will do nothing to actually bring the two sides together and advance a two-state solution,” she continued. “And including this proposed amendment in our platform, will divide our party at the very time we need to be uniting in order to defeat Donald Trump.”
Mark Mellman, president and CEO of Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, said in response, that “this platform continues and expands upon our party’s proud tradition, and Joe Biden’s long history, of supporting a strong US-Israel relationship.”