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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 TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study 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 SchakowskyPelosi, Mnuchin continue COVID-19 talks amid dwindling odds for deal Pocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair Hillicon Valley: Facebook to label posts if candidates prematurely declare victory | Supreme Court hears landmark B Google, Oracle copyright fight | House Dem accuses Ratcliffe of politicizing election security intel MORE (Ill.), Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchShakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Matt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid MORE (Fla.), David PriceDavid Eugene PriceHouse panel approves measure requiring masks on public transport Overnight Energy: 350 facilities skip reporting water pollution | Panel votes to block Trump's 'secret science' rule | Court upholds regulation boosting electric grid storage Committee votes to block Trump's 'secret science' EPA rule MORE (N.C.) and Brad SchneiderBradley (Brad) Scott SchneiderDemocrats call for IRS to review tax-exempt status of NRA 189 House Democrats urge Israel to 'reconsider' annexation Partisan divide on annexation complicates US-Israel relationship MORE (Ill.) and signed by 185 members, including House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerTop Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate Trump orders aides to halt talks on COVID-19 relief This week: Coronavirus complicates Senate's Supreme Court fight 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 PompeoPompeo: 'Dangerous' for Twitter to take 'non-viewpoint-neutral' stance Pompeo warns any arms sales to Iran will result in sanctions as embargo expires Trump turns his ire toward Cabinet members 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.