Rep. Eric Swalwell

CONGRESS 15 | Rep. Eric Swalwell already has his hands full closing the inherent East-West divide in the 15th Congressional District, but he thinks he can help the generations-long dispute between Israel and Palestine.

The freshman congressman and 35 other members of Congress, led by Rep. Steny Hoyer, left Sunday for Israel. The contingent will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during the seven-day trip.

The pro-Israeli lobby in Washington has been kind to Swalwell before and after his election to Congress last November. Various Israeli organizations have contributed greatly to his campaign going back to last year. Many of the same groups again contributed to Swalwell’s campaign, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

The trip was organized by the American Israeli Education Foundation, which is affiliated to the powerful American Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

In media reports today, Swalwell said his primary interest in the trip is to evaluate Israel’s methods and responses to terrorism, including its technology.

Swalwell is currently a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and has advocated in the past for greater funding for security at airports and at BART, which runs through his district. Swalwell has also backed the Alameda County Sheriff’s proposal for domestic drones in cases of emergency. He also backs the use of more lethal forms of drones in the Middle East.

According to Swalwell’s congressional Web Site, he advocates for a two-state solution in Israel, but urges Palestinians to negotiate directly with Israel, and without pre-conditions.