Thirty-seven Democratic Congressional representatives have returned from a trip to Israel and the West Bank. A Hudson Valley Congressman was part of the delegation and has spoken about what he learned.
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney joined 36 other House Democrats on the weeklong trip, sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with AIPAC - the American Israel Public Affairs Committee - America's pro-Israel lobby. The Foundation funds educational seminars to Israel for congressional members and others with political influence. The trips are designed to help educate visitors about the importance of the U.S. - Israel relationship. Maloney says he met with the Israeli prime minister and others.
His return to the United States Tuesday came as Israeli authorities released 26 Palestinian prisoners - an entrée to peace talks.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been working to foster Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which were scheduled to begin Wednesday. Reports say the talks are already in danger amid Israeli approval of 900 settlement homes in East Jerusalem. Maloney says the trip brought him to the West Bank a few times.
Maloney says his trip has underscored the following:
The trip was Maloney’s first official trip abroad since he was elected in November to represent the 18th congressional district. He discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship Tuesday night at a closed-press community meeting in Goshen, in Orange County.