01.29.20

Senator Baldwin, Senate Democrats Reject Trump Middle East Plan, Urge Administration to Commit to Viable Two-State Solution

Senators: “A sustainable solution must support the legitimate rights, aspirations, and needs of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the President’s announcement of his “deal of the century,” U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined 11 of her Senate colleagues, led by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), in expressing serious concerns with the Trump Middle East plan. 

In their letter the Senators begin, “We write to express our profound concern regarding your decision to release a one-sided Israeli-Palestinian plan forged without any Palestinian involvement or support. Unilateral implementation of this one-sided proposal will risk eliminating any remaining prospects for achievement of a peaceful and viable two-state solution.”

They underscore, “Unilateral U.S. endorsement of Israeli sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, over all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley guarantees Palestinian rejection and paves the way for full or partial Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Such a development would disregard international law, engender stiff opposition from our allies, and undermine existing U.S. policy regarding the unilateral annexation of Crimea, eastern Ukraine, northern Cyprus and elsewhere. It will also place allies like Jordan in an untenable position.”

They note, “The timing of this proposal to coincide with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s indictment on bribery charges also raises disturbing questions about your intention to intervene in the Israeli election process.”

The Senators close the letter, stating, “Your administration has already reversed decades of bipartisan U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Previous presidents of both parties successfully maintained the respect of both Israelis and Palestinians for the United States’ role as a credible player in difficult negotiations. Your one-sided actions have made that impossible. It is clear that this latest White House effort is not a legitimate attempt to advance peace. It is a recipe for renewed division and conflict in the region. We urge your administration to demonstrate a real commitment to a viable two-state solution and to lay the foundation for a future that enables Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace, freedom, security, and prosperity.”

In addition to Senators Baldwin and Van Hollen, the letter was signed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Udall (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Tom Carper (D-DE).

The full letter is available here and below. 

 

Dear President Trump,

We write to express our profound concern regarding your decision to release a one-sided Israeli-Palestinian plan forged without any Palestinian involvement or support. Unilateral implementation of this one-sided proposal will risk eliminating any remaining prospects for achievement of a peaceful and viable two-state solution.

Unilateral U.S. endorsement of Israeli sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, over all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley guarantees Palestinian rejection and paves the way for full or partial Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Such a development would disregard international law, engender stiff opposition from our allies, and undermine existing U.S. policy regarding the unilateral annexation of Crimea, eastern Ukraine, northern Cyprus and elsewhere. It will also place allies like Jordan in an untenable position.

Furthermore, this proposal violates the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and will erode the long-term security interests of Israel by placing it on a course toward either a one-state solution that undermines the vision of a democratic Jewish state or a fragmented, disconnected and deeply unequal system of Palestinian islets surrounded by Israeli territory. Neither is a sustainable solution that supports the legitimate rights and aspirations of both sides. Any attempt to label a disconnected series of Palestinian islets a “state” would betray the vision of a sovereign Palestinian state. 

The timing of this proposal to coincide with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s indictment on bribery charges also raises disturbing questions about your intention to intervene in the Israeli election process. For this reason, leading Israeli politicians had called for a delay in the plan’s release until after the March 2 Israeli elections.

Your administration has already reversed decades of bipartisan U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Previous presidents of both parties successfully maintained the respect of both Israelis and Palestinians for the United States’ role as a credible player in difficult negotiations. Your one-sided actions have made that impossible. It is clear that this latest White House effort is not a legitimate attempt to advance peace. It is a recipe for renewed division and conflict in the region. We urge your administration to demonstrate a real commitment to a viable two-state solution and to lay the foundation for a future that enables Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace, freedom, security, and prosperity.  

Sincerely,