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Rep. Eric Swalwell joins House Dem trip to Israel

Rep. Eric Swalwell left Sunday for Israel and the West Bank as part of a massive Democratic congressional delegation “to gain a firsthand understanding of some of America’s most pressing foreign policy challenges,” his office reported.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, is with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and 36 other House Democrats who’ll meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian leaders including Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. They’ll also meet with Israeli tech leaders to explore opportunities for bilateral economic and technological cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.

“I look forward to visiting our strong ally in the Middle East, and as a Member of the Homeland Security Committee, I’m particularly interested in viewing the security situation on the ground and learning about the technology Israel is using in its fight against terror,” Swalwell said in a news release.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently has made a priority of restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“This is a critical time in the peace process with this new round of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” Swalwell said. “The visit will be an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the quest for a peaceful two-state solution through meetings with a wide variety of leaders across the spectrum –Israelis, Palestinians, religious figures, opposition members, and ordinary citizens.”

The trip is organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, a group affiliated with AIPAC, the nation’s pro-Israel lobby. The delegation will return Monday, Aug. 12.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.