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Democrats offer mixed reactions to Trump's Mideast peace plan
Congressional Democrats offered varying responses Tuesday to President Trump's Middle East peace plan, ranging from cautious optimism to outright rejection.
On one end, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the Trump administration's proposed resolution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict provides some areas of "common ground" for Democrats to get behind and support.
"If there's a possibility for peace, we want to give it a chance," Pelosi said following the president's unveiling of the plan at the White House alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The White House sent a two-page brief to lawmakers, Pelosi said, shortly before the unveiling, with the speaker saying it "whet our appetite" to view the plan in full.
"On the first read of these two pages, there appears to be a basis for negotiations," Pelosi said. "So let us be optimistic and hopeful, and let us pray for peace."
Trump later introduced an 80-page framework.
House Democrats said they were initially heartened by the inclusion of a call for a two-state solution, a policy priority that administration officials had earlier shied away from endorsing while formulating the plan.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said his initial viewing of the two-page summary "gives me some hope."
"One of the expressions I always like to use is the devil is in the detail. We've seen the proposal. I haven't looked at it extensively. There's some good room for hope there," Engel said.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism, said he had a brief conversation with White House officials Tuesday morning ahead of the rollout and was encouraged by key aspects of the plan.
"Certainly, it seems to preserve that possibility of a two-state solution," Deutch said. "The president spoke openly about a Palestinian state. He also spoke at length about meeting Israel's security needs. I believe and hope conversation can continue and lead to negotiations between the parties."
But on the other side of the Capitol, several Senate Democrats slammed the proposal after Trump's announcement from the White House.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is seeking the party's presidential nomination, ripped the administration's plan, arguing it offered no real future for a Palestinian state.
Warren tweeted that Trump's proposal was a "rubber stamp" for future annexation of Palestinian-held territory by Israeli forces, adding that she would oppose any plan that, like Trump's, was not crafted with Palestinian negotiators at the table.
"Trump's 'peace plan' is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state. Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn't diplomacy, it's a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form-and reverse any policy that supports it," she tweeted.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called Trump's proposal an "anti-peace plan," arguing it is "one-sided" to the detriment of Palestinians.
Trump has urged Palestinian leaders publicly to support the plan. Palestinian officials have so far rejected the Trump administration's requests to begin negotiations.