189 House Democrats urge Israel to 'reconsider' annexation

189 House Democrats urge Israel to 'reconsider' annexation
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A majority of House Democrats is urging Israel’s leaders to “reconsider” upcoming plans for annexation, saying in a letter on Thursday that unilateral action will drive both Israelis and Palestinians further apart.

“We remain steadfast in our belief that pursuing two states for two peoples is essential to ensuring a secure, Jewish, democratic Israel able to live side-by-side, in peace and mutual recognition, with an independent, viable, de-militarized Palestinian state,” the lawmakers wrote.

Their letter comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE is expected to make a July 1 announcement on annexing areas in the West Bank and Jordan Valley, territory outlined in President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE’s Middle East peace plan as belonging to Israel.

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The lawmakers said such action would make it harder to achieve a negotiated agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, with a Jewish and democratic state of Israel next to an independent Palestinian state.

They also highlighted opposition to annexation by the European Union, warnings by King Abdullah the II of a risk to Jordan's peace treaty with Israel and an outbreak of violence, and a plea from a top diplomat from the United Arab Emirates that moves by Israel would reverse progress on normalization with Arab states.

“We do not see how any of these acute risks serve the long-term interest of a strong, secure Israel,” the Democrats wrote. “As committed partners in supporting and protecting the special U.S.-Israel relationship, we express our deep concern with the stated intention to move ahead with any unilateral annexation of West Bank territory, and we urge your government to reconsider plans to do so.”

The letter was led by Democratic Reps. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyHillicon Valley: Facebook civil rights audit finds 'serious setbacks' | Facebook takes down Roger Stone-affiliated accounts, pages | State and local officials beg Congress for more elections funds House Democrats press Twitter, Facebook, Google for reports on coronavirus disinformation Dingell pushes provision to curtail drunk driving in House infrastructure package MORE (Ill.), Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases US lawmakers call on EU to label entire Hezbollah a terrorist organization 189 House Democrats urge Israel to 'reconsider' annexation MORE (Fla.), David PriceDavid Eugene Price189 House Democrats urge Israel to 'reconsider' annexation Partisan divide on annexation complicates US-Israel relationship National service will give thousands of Americans a chance to recover and rebuild their communities MORE (N.C.) and Brad SchneiderBradley (Brad) Scott Schneider189 House Democrats urge Israel to 'reconsider' annexation Partisan divide on annexation complicates US-Israel relationship Illinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary MORE (Ill.) and signed by 185 members, including House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerMexico's president uses US visit to tout ties with Trump Amy Kennedy wins NJ primary to face GOP's Van Drew House Democrat calls for 'real adult discussion' on lawmaker pay MORE (Md.) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.).

It was sent to Netanyahu, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Israel’s foreign minister, Gabi Ashkenazi.

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Republicans have put their support behind Israel’s right to decide on annexation without outside pressure and urged Trump to provide the necessary support if Israel moves forward with annexation.

The president and administration officials have yet to decide on whether to publicly endorse annexation.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: Facebook civil rights audit finds 'serious setbacks' | Facebook takes down Roger Stone-affiliated accounts, pages | State and local officials beg Congress for more elections funds The Hill's 12:30 Report- Presented by Facebook - Trump threatens schools' funding over reopening Pompeo: State Department 'will work with Congress' on pledged funding to WHO MORE on Wednesday said annexation is a decision for Israelis to make and that the administration is talking to “all of the countries in the region about it is we can manage this process for our end state objective.”

Trump’s “Vision for Peace” plan for Israelis and Palestinians, unveiled in January, specified about 30 percent of the West Bank and all of the Jordan Valley as belonging to Israel, with Palestinians assigned disjointed territory in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and parts of southern Israel surrounded by an Israeli security barrier.

Administration officials initially said Israel did not have to wait to annex territory but that it would keep frozen the territory assigned for Palestinians for a period up to three years to encourage direct negotiations between the two parties.