The US Senate Session Chamber.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
WASHINGTON – A group of eight Democratic senators introduced a resolution Thursday that reaffirms the United States’ commitment to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and notes “that Israeli annexation of territory in the West Bank would undermine peace and Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the resolution, and two Democratic presidential hopefuls, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, joined as co-sponsors.
“Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank would jeopardize prospects for a two-state solution, harm Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors, threaten Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity, and undermine Israel’s security,” the resolution says. “A two-state solution is the best hope to preserve Israel’s Jewish and democratic nature while fulfilling the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, creating a foundation for just and durable peace and prosperity.”
J Street welcomed the new resolution, and released a statement, saying, “this resolution could not be more timely, given that the first stage of the Trump administration’s long-anticipated initiative related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – an economic workshop in Bahrain – is now set to take place at the end of June.”
“This resolution is an important warning to the Trump administration against any attempts to encourage annexation or undercut the ultimate prospects for a two-state solution,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street president. “It’s vital that the Senate recommit to long-held, bipartisan principles – and reject a path that leads Israel down a path towards permanent occupation and endless conflict.”
J Street also noted it would support a different, bipartisan resolution by senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chris Van-Hollen (D-MD) once it is introduced.
Axios’s Barak Ravid reported on Tuesday that Israel is trying to prevent the Senate from passing a bipartisan resolution endorsing a two-state solution. According to the report, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador in the US, as well as embassy officials, have been lobbying Graham and Van Hollen to remove the words “two-state solution” from the text – but the two senators rejected the lobbying efforts.
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