May 21, 2020

Senators Caution Israel Against Unilateral Annexation of West Bank Territory

In A Letter To Netanyahu And Gantz, Senators State They Oppose Annexation, Warn that Such A Move Would Critically Endanger Prospects For A Negotiated, Lasting Peace

Text of Letter (PDF) 

Washington, DC — United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), along with 14 Senate Democrats, to express grave concern regarding unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory potentially as early as July. In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the senators warned that such a move would mark a dramatic reversal of decades of shared understandings between the United States, Israel, the Palestinians and the international community, and would impact Israel’s future, placing its security and democracy at risk.  

“A deep commitment to Israel’s security and a shared set of democratic values are foundational elements of the close relationship between our countries. We are therefore concerned that unilateral annexation puts both Israel’s security and democracy at risk. Annexation would betray our shared democratic values by denying Palestinians’ right to self-determination in a viable, sovereign, independent and contiguous state. It could bring an end to Palestinian security cooperation with Israel, directly threatening the security of the Israeli people, and endanger Israel’s crucial peace agreement with Jordan,” the senators wrote.

The senators concluded: “As friends and supporters of Israel, we caution you against taking unilateral steps that would fray our unique bonds, imperil Israel’s future and place out of reach the prospect of a lasting peace. If you move forward with unilateral annexation, we would not support that action. This is consistent with long-standing American policy opposing unilateral actions by either party to the conflict. Pursuit of a viable, negotiated two state solution is essential to ensuring our shared democratic values and lasting bipartisan support for Israel in Congress.”

Joining Warren, Murphy, Kaine and Van Hollen were Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tom Carper (D-De.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Senator Warren has been an outspoken supporter of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that ensures self-determination for the Palestinians and security for Israel. She joined her colleagues in introducing a resolution reaffirming the two-state solution and cautioning that unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank would jeopardize prospects for a negotiated agreement and could undermine Israel’s security. The senator also sent a letter with her colleagues to President Trump expressing serious concerns with his one-sided Israeli-Palestinian peace plan devised without any Palestinian involvement or support.