January 30, 2024

Warren, Schatz Urge Biden Administration to Pressure Netanyahu on Two-State Solution Comments

“We have serious concerns that the Netanyahu government’s public and repeated rejection of a two-state solution fundamentally threatens regional security and undermines any path to a durable peace.”

Letter Text (PDF)

Washington, D.C.  – Today, following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s rejection of Palestinian sovereignty, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken pressing the Biden administration on its support for the Netanyahu government. Senators Warren and Schatz seek more clarification on the administration’s position on the direction of the Netanyahu government for bringing the hostages home and enhancing Israeli security, conditioning aid to the Israeli government, and the U.S.’s plan to support the Palestinian people post-conflict.

“For decades U.S. policy has been clear: the only path for sustainable peace and solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a two-state solution,” the lawmakers wrote. “Only through a viable two-state peace process can we ensure that the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for their own state are met, along with the necessary requirements for a secure, democratic, and Jewish state of Israel.”

President Biden has made clear that a two-state solution with a “pathway to a Palestinian state” is necessary for Israeli security, which the lawmakers point out in their letter. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he “will not compromise on full Israeli security control of the entire area west of Jordan River,” which he claims “is irreconcilable with a Palestinian state.” At the same time, the Netanyahu government’s military campaign is failing to bring the hostages home.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu’s explicit departure from that position, both in his statements and in government policies aimed at undermining this internationally agreed upon pathway, is dangerous to both U.S. and Israeli national security,” the lawmakers continued.

Senator Warren has consistently brought attention to the devastating civilian impact of the Israel-Hamas war and urged American foreign policy to be values-centered: 

  • On January 29 Senator Warren and Representative McGovern led 18 of their colleagues in a letter to State challenging the decision to bypass Congress to approve arms transfers to Israel
  • On January 24 Senator Warren, Schatz, and 47 of their Democratic colleagues announced an amendment to reaffirm U.S. support for a two-state solution.
  • In January Senator Warren, Schatz, Van Hollen, and 15 of their Democratic colleagues put forward an amendment to require any supplemental aid to comply with U.S. and international law.
  • In December 2023, Senators Warren, Sanders, Merkley, Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) sent a letter to President Joe Biden, calling for closer oversight of Israel’s use of U.S. weapons to ensure the weapons will not be used to cause preventable civilian harm. 
  • In September 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on the Department of Defense (DoD) to improve investigations into civilian harm by collaborating with civil society organizations on the ground.
  • In July 2023, Senator Warren, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Representative Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, expressing concerns that a recent May 2023 U.S. airstrike in Syria may have killed a civilian.
  • In December 2022, Senator Warren and U.S. Representative Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, raising concerns that the Department of Defense’s (DoD) September 2022 report to Congress on civilian casualties appears to undercount civilian casualties from U.S. military operations and that DoD is not exercising its authority to make amends to civilian victims and survivors.
  • In December 2022, Senator Warren announced priorities that she secured in the FY 2023 NDAA, including fundamentally reforming DoD's approach to preventing civilian harm by creating a Civilian Protection Center of Excellence to serve as a focal point for civilian casualty, providing s $25 million in dedicated resources to implement the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Plan being developed by DoD and reforms prescribed in the NDAA, and enhancing annual reporting on civilian harm. 
  • In September 2022, Senators Warren, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent letters to DoD and the Department of State, calling on the Departments to thoroughly investigate how U.S. military support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen may have led to civilian harm and analyze to the effectiveness of civilian harm reduction efforts by the Saudi and Emirati governments
  • In August 2022, DoD released its Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan that was responsive to Senator Warren’s numerous proposals and calls for DoD to prioritize civilian harm prevention. 
  • In March 2022, Senator Warren and Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) sent a letter to the Pentagon calling on it to open investigations into instances of civilian harm from U.S. military operations in Yemen, after reports of dozens of deaths.
  • In April 2022, Senator Warren and Representatives Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Jacobs and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) announced two pieces of bicameral legislation that would overhaul the prevention, mitigation, reporting, and transparency of civilian harm caused by U.S. military operations, the Department of Defense Civilian Harm Transparency Act and the Protection of Civilians in Military Operations Act.
  • In February 2022, Senator Warren secured a commitment from LTG Michael Kurilla, nominee to be General and Commander of United States Central Command, to prioritize reforms to mitigate civilian casualties.
  • In January 2022, Senator Warren and Representative Khanna led almost 50 of their colleagues in a letter calling on President Biden to overhaul U.S. counterterrorism policy after U.S. drone strikes have killed thousands of innocent civilians.
  • In January 2022, Senators Warren and Murphy and Representative Khanna released a statement in support of DoD’s directive to prevent civilian deaths
  • In November 2021, Senator Warren sent a letter to Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chairman of SASC, requesting that the Committee launch a formal inquiry to review the findings and implications of a New York Times report detailing how the U.S. military hid an airstrike in Baghuz, Syria that killed dozens of civilians.
  • Following the August 29, 2021, unmanned airstrike that killed ten civilians in Afghanistan, Senator Warren and Representative Ro Khanna sent a letter to Secretary Austin to use the tragedy of civilian harm to look into the Pentagon’s history of accidentally targeting innocent civilians and significantly under-investigating and undercounting civilian casualties. 
  • In July 2021, Senator Warren and Representative Khanna sent a letter urging Secretary Austin to review why significant undercounts of civilian casualties persist and why DoD made zero ex gratia payments to grieving civilians last year despite authorization and funding from Congress.
  • In June 2020, Senator Warren and Representative Khanna introduced the Protection of Civilians in Military Operations Act, bicameral legislation that would enhance reporting on civilian casualties resulting from U.S. military operations, improve investigations into civilian casualties, and strengthen resources for the Department's policies and practices relating to civilian casualty prevention and responses.