Minnesota Congresswomen Betty McCollum and Ilhan Omar voted no in the House of Representatives on Tuesday on legislation that would create an ambassador-level special envoy for the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements that Israel has so far signed with four Arab countries.
McCollum, in a statement given to explain her no vote, cited the Abraham Accords’ failure “to address the plight of millions of Palestinians who are working to build a peaceful future and who have been abandoned by Congress and the broader international community,” and her “unanswered” call for a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth.
“I believe no U.S. military aid to Israel should be used to enable or support the military detention and torture of Palestinian children, the demolition of Palestinian homes, or the annexation of Palestinian lands,” McCollum said. “If the United States is to play a role in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must end human rights abuses against Palestinian children.
“Enabling an ambassadorial level of U.S. representation for a Special Envoy for the Trump-era Abraham Accords, while ignoring the need for a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth, is an affront to all those seeking to end the human rights abuses of Palestinian young people living under military occupation. Peace in the region will only be possible if we build a brighter future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
Omar’s office did not reply to a request for comment.
The bill ultimately passed 413-13, with 11 Democrats and two Republicans voting no. California Rep. Barbara Lee voted no in error, a spokesperson told the website Jewish Insider. She also entered a statement into the Congressional Record to that effect.
The rest of the Minnesota delegation voted in favor the measure, with the exception of First District Rep. Brad Finstad, who did not vote.
Thus far, the Abraham Accords agreements have been signed by Israel with The United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bahrain, and Sudan. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), who co-sponsored the bill, told Jewish Insider: “The Abraham Accords cannot be allowed to atrophy from bureaucratic neglect, there should and must be a clear delineation of power within the federal government. The Abraham Accords are so monumental that it merits a special envoy of its own.”