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Reps. Wagner, Schneider, Garcia, Meijer, Meeks, McCaul Introduce Bipartisan Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021

Apr 21, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C.  –  Representatives Brad Schneider (IL-10), Ann Wagner (MO-02), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Peter Meijer (MI-03), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), and Michael McCaul (TX-10) introduced the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021. The bill builds upon the success of the Abraham Accords, the peace and normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, by stating U.S. policy is to expand and strengthen these normalization agreements while requiring coordination throughout the Administration. The companion bill is led by Senators Rob Portman (R-PA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jim Risch (R-ID), Todd Young (R-IN), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

“This legislation will expand upon the achievements of the Abraham Accords and help our Israeli and Arab partners build a more peaceful and stable region. By strengthening regional cooperation, we will also improve our ability to counter Iran’s destabilizing agenda.  The Israel Relations Normalization Act will enhance a strong working relationship between states, identify potential barriers to future agreements, and work to combat racist actions that have stalled previous relations,” said Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02).

“The 2020 peace and normalization agreements between Israel and her neighbors were historic steps for a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future in the Middle East. The United States must continue to nurture these bonds in the pursuit of regional stability. It is my hope now, as it was when these accords were first announced, that these accords will open the door to a new era of peace, building momentum to future normalization agreements and ultimately forging a path to an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians ensuring a secure, Jewish and democratic Israel living side-by-side with a Palestinian state with peace, security, and prosperity for both peoples.,” said Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10).

“Living in peace begins with dialogue and cooperation. It is my hope that this bill will help build on the Abraham Accords to bring lasting stability and harmony in the Middle East. The United States can and should play a critical role in supporting Israel working together with Palestinians and all its neighbors. Tolerance will grow into friendship and friendship will build a bridge to shared peace and prosperity,” said Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29).

“The Trump Administration made historic progress last year towards achieving peace and stability in the Middle East by helping facilitate normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. The Israel Normalization Act of 2021 ensures that we continue to build on these efforts by promoting increased cooperation between Israel and her neighbors and encouraging those nations to ultimately work together towards a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace,” said Congressman Peter Meijer (MI-03).

“The normalization agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan prove the value and power of diplomacy. I believe they will help advance peace between Israel and other Arab and Muslim majority nations, further diplomatic openings throughout the region and enhance efforts towards a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I also believe these diplomatic efforts could begin to transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation, and forging closer people-to-people relations. I’m honored to help lead this important legislation which will focus our government on nurturing the agreements already in place as well as incentivize other parties to craft new relationships with Israel,” said HFAC Chairman Gregory Meeks (NY-05).

“The historic agreements brokered with Israel and neighboring countries were critical steps to creating a more secure and prosperous Middle East. We can all agree building relationships between our partners is a major win for U.S. national interests. We must continue to promote dialogue and unity as we work toward a more peaceful Middle East,” said HFAC Ranking Member Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10).  

This bill: 

Requires the Department of State to provide a strategy to strengthen and expand the Abraham Accords and other related normalization agreements with Israel through;

  • An assessment regarding the future staffing and resourcing requirements of entities across the interagency for expanding and strengthening normalization agreements. 
  • An assessment regarding areas of cooperation such as economic, social, cultural, scientific, technical, educational, and health fields, as well as identification of potential roadblocks in these sectors to increased cooperation among states. 
  • An assessment regarding potential areas for further security cooperation as well as identification of potential roadblocks to future cooperation.
  • As assessment of opportunities created by normalization agreements to advance prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • A detailed description of how the U.S. Government will leverage diplomatic lines of effort and resources from other stakeholders to encourage normalization, economic development, and people-to-people programming.

Requires report on international efforts to promote normalization through:

  • Identification of existing relevant investment funds that support Israel-Arab state cooperation and recommendations for how such funds could be used to support normalization and increase prosperity for all relevant stakeholders.
  • An assessment of the feasibility and benefit of increasing the capacity of existing State and USAID-funded programs for developing people-to-people exchange programs for young people between Israel, Arab states, and other relevant countries and regions.
  • Recommendations to improve Department of State cooperation and coordination, particularly between the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, the Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and the Director of the Office of International Religious Freedom, to combat racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism.
  • A proposal for how the U.S. Government and others can use existing Federal resources to counter Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism abroad. An assessment on the value and feasibility of interagency support for inter-parliamentary exchange programs for Members of Congress, Knesset, and parliamentarians from Arab states and other relevant countries and regions, including through existing federal programs that support such exchanges.

Requires a report on the status of anti-normalization laws in Arab states and other relevant countries and regions. The report is to include:

  • Instances of prosecution of citizens or residents of Arab countries for calling for peace with Israel, visiting the state of Israel, or engaging Israeli citizens in any way.  
  • Instances of extrajudicial retribution by Arab governments or government-controlled institutions against citizens or residents of Arab countries. 
  • Steps taken by Arab governments toward permitting or encouraging people-to-people relations between their citizens or residents and Israeli citizens.