Earlier this week, sweepingly pro-Israel resolutions passed both the US Senate and House with supposed “unanimous consent.” This lead to such triumphalist headlines as “House passes resolution supporting Israel’s right to self-defense” and “Senate, House resolutions back Israel’s actions in Gaza.”
However, one representative from the US House is now objecting to the means in which the resolution was passed through his chamber of Congress and asserts he would have voted against it had it been put through the proper procedures.
Reproduced below is a statement from the website of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich that was just released in the past hour (emphasis mine):
On November 16, 2012, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution, H. Res 813, expressing “vigorous support” and “unwavering commitment” to the State of Israel while bombs were being dropped on Gaza and missiles were launched toward Ashkelon. The resolution expresses the official opinion of the House of Representatives. The resolution was passed “without objection.”
It is unusual that legislation addressing a topic of such importance would be brought up without giving members of Congress any prior notice. The bill was introduced at 12:04 pm. The resolution was “agreed without objection” by 12:05 pm.
“There was no notice, no committee hearing, no discussion and no debate. In such a fashion, we achieve unanimity on great matters related to the Middle East,” said Kucinich.
Concerning this abnormal set of circumstances and addressing the tragic violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement.
“I object to H.Res.813, an unfortunately and unnecessarily one-sided resolution that was brought up on Friday, November 16th for consideration without any advance notice to members of Congress and which was completed in about a minute without any discussion. The hasty nature in which this resolution of such significance was considered undermines the unspoken, but operationally essential understanding, that bills of great importance will not be quietly tiptoed through Congress. A loss of Members’ confidence in Leadership results when House floor procedures are conducted in a manner frustrating to good faith. Such conduct can only add to the hyperpartisanship and the breakdown of comity in Congress that Americans find objectionable.
“Members must be given the opportunity to debate U.S. support of a military operation that is likely to be of significant consequence in talks between Israel and the Palestinians. This impacts the region and the world.
“Only one minute for consideration of a most consequential resolution in the House, when in the past week, the death toll in Gaza has climbed past 100, including 24 children. Over 800 people are reported to have been wounded. Rockets from groups in Gaza have landed in several Israeli towns. Three Israelis have been killed.
“This latest military escalation began after Israel assassinated Ahmed Al-Jabari, the head of Hamas’ military wing. According to Israeli negotiator Gershon Baskin, who secured the release of Gilad Shalit, Mr. Jabari ‘wasn’t just interested in a long-term cease-fire; he was also the person responsible for enforcing previous cease-fire understandings…On the morning that he was killed, Mr. Jabari received a draft proposal for an extended cease-fire with Israel, including mechanisms that would verify intentions and ensure compliance.’ Could anything be more destructive of peace than the assassination of a principal to ceasefire negotiations? And the House only has one minute to consider the ramifications of such action?
“The root of this latest flare up in hostilities is deep. Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution have been virtually non-existent. Innocent people in Gaza continue to suffer under a blockade that has deprived them of everything from food and clean water to educational opportunities. Illegal settlements continue to be built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, further diminishing prospects for a negotiated two-state solution.
“The hastily written, and even more hastily passed resolution, fails to mention any of that. In its deficiencies are writ the failures of our own Middle East policies. This latest outbreak in violence is deplorable and I am strongly supportive of Egyptian efforts to negotiate a ceasefire. Innocent people on both sides deserve to live without fear. Can the House Leadership spare a minute for that point to be made?”