International

Cruz urges Trump to support Israeli annexation

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is leading Republican colleagues in urging President Trump to give Israel the green light to annex territory in the West Bank and Jordan Valley, outlined in the White House's vision for a solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. 

Cruz, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led a letter from GOP senators to Trump on Tuesday urging the White House to put its support behind plans by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take action on annexation beginning July 1.

The White House has yet to speak out on Netanyahu's efforts, and it's unclear which territory the U.S. would support as belonging to Israel. 

A joint U.S. and Israeli mapping team has worked to define borders broadly outlined in Trump's vision for peace, unveiled in January and which identified about 30 percent of the West Bank and all of the Jordan Valley as belonging to Israel. But the mapping team has yet to make their efforts public. 

Cruz, joined by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), put their support behind Trump's peace plan and urged the president to provide administration officials resources to help Israel implement the plan. 

"We write to congratulate you on the continued progress of the 'Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and a Brighter Future for Israel and the Palestinian People,' to express our support for its ongoing implementation including the extension of Israeli civil law into Israeli communities and areas critical for Israel's security such as the Jordan Valley, and to commit to providing your administration with the resources it requires for such implementation," the senators wrote. 

The letter continued that it is the "sovereign decision of our Israeli allies" whether they move forward on annexation, "but of course their decision takes place against the backdrop of the Vision for Peace and its assurances of American recognition."

The statement from Senate Republicans follows a letter sent Monday by a majority of House GOP lawmakers expressing support for Israel's "right to make decisions without outside pressure to ensure defensible borders."

Trump's plan for peace was widely rejected by the Palestinians and the international community and was criticized for envisioning a disparate Palestinian state encircled by an Israeli security barrier.

Senate Democrats in recent weeks have come out against annexation, following similar statements by the European Union and a top diplomat from the United Arab Emirates. 

Trump was reported to be meeting this week with key members of his administration involved in the White House's peace plan over whether to offer support for Israel annexing territory.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment by The Hill. 

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