Significant opposition to potential Israeli annexation of the West Bank is building in the US Senate and on the Senate campaign trail, as Prime Minister Netanyahu threatens to move forward with such steps as early as July 1. 28 senators and 9 battleground Senate challengers have now publicly opposed the dangerous move.
In recent days, nine Senators have issued new public statements and letters calling on the Israeli government not to carry out annexation and noting its dangerous ramifications for Israel, the Palestinians and the wider region — adding their voices to the 19 senators, led by Senators Chris Murphy, Tim Kaine and Chris Van Hollen, who warned against annexation in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu last month.
Today, these 28 sitting senators are joined by nine leading Senate candidates in battleground states, who have each shared with J Street public statements opposing annexation: Cal Cunningham (NC), Sara Gideon (ME), Theresa Greenfield (IA), Al Gross (AK), Jaime Harrison (SC), MJ Hegar (TX), John Hickenlooper (CO), Amy McGrath (KY) and Jon Ossoff (GA).
These strong messages add to the increasingly overwhelming chorus of American and Israeli political and communal leaders, security officials and foreign policy experts — including over 220 Israeli former generals — who are publicly opposing annexation and sounding the alarm about the potential for disaster.
Among the major US political figures who have also spoken out are the Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Vice President Biden has warned that “Israel needs to stop the threat of annexation and stop settlement activity, because it will choke off any hope for peace,” while Speaker Pelosi stated this month that “Unilateral annexation puts the future at risk and undermines US national security interests and decades of bipartisan policy.”
Prominent Israelis continue to urge US leaders to oppose annexation. Last week, 25 former Members of Knesset — including former Mossad director Danny Yatom and former Knesset speaker Avram Burg — wrote to Congress to thank lawmakers for speaking out. “We support and are grateful for our American allies who are speaking out against unilateral annexation. Your expressions of concern and care for a treasured ally and for the vital U.S.-Israel bipartisan relationship are deeply appreciated.”
At this pivotal moment for the future of Israelis, Palestinians and the Middle East, J Street is grateful to all of the political leaders who, by speaking out in defense of the shared interests and democratic values at the heart of the US-Israel relationship, are demonstrating what true pro-Israel, pro-peace leadership looks like. With the threat of annexation still looming, we will continue to urge their colleagues to add their voices to the torrent of public opposition in the weeks ahead.