Tuesday , January 26 2021

The bipartisan bill seeks to promote normalization between Israel and the Arab world

WASHINGTON – A new bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week, requiring the secretary of state to submit to Congress an annual report “on cases of retaliation by the Arab government against citizens and residents who engage in public relations with Israel.” Senators Corey Booker (D-New York) and Rob Portman (R-O) are behind the legislation, dubbed “Strengthening Reporting on Actions Taken Against the 2020 Normalization of Relations with Israel.” The bill notes that “Despite the risk of retaliation, the growing wave of Arab civil society advocates direct engagement with Israeli citizens.” The Arab League for Regional Integration, a group of 32 public figures from 15 Arab countries who oppose the boycott of Israel, was also quoted as saying that “the boycott denied the Arabs the benefits of partnering with the Israelis, blocked the Arabs from helping “It bridged the Israeli-Palestinian divide and inspired a divisive intra-Arab boycott between the various sects.” If signed into law, the bill would require the State Department to include in its annual report the status of “anti-normalization laws” in each country under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Middle East Affairs. In addition, he will monitor incidents of “persecution of citizens and residents of Arab countries for calling for peace and engagement with Israel.” According to the bill, the report should contain evidence of steps taken by Arab governments to foster interpersonal relations between their citizens or residents and Israeli citizens. “Since my time in the Senate, I have consistently supported the Arab-Israeli engagement,” Senator Booker said Monday. The need for people-to-people engagement between these communities is not only a critical tool for diplomacy, but also important for peace and economic prosperity in the region. In partnership with Senator Portman, this bipartisan bill will strengthen America’s commitment to peace by supporting and encouraging dialogue between Arab and Israeli citizens. “Anti-normalization laws in the region continue to be an obstacle for communities, people, NGOs and businesses coming together,” Senator Portman said in a statement. “During my visits to the region, I saw the deep and enduring friendships that exist and that are essential to building long-term peace,” Portman continued. “This bill will discourage those Arab League states that continue to enforce anti-normalization and support efforts, such as those proposed by the Arab League, which encourage and defend community engagement between Arabs and Israelis. “We are pleased that at a time of turmoil around the world, two prominent US senators have decided to stand with the people-to-people engagement between the Arab and Israeli peoples,” said Mustafa al-Desouki, co-founder and director of the Arab Council. ” “Civil society has always been a ‘missing piece’ in efforts to achieve just and lasting peace in our region,” he added. “This bill will empower many bridge builders between us to move forward with ‘peace between people’. .

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