J Street Welcomes Important House Letter Urging Biden Admin to Reverse Trump’s Damaging Israel/Palestine Policies

June 24, 2021

This week, Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) led 73 House Democrats in sending a letter to President Biden urging his administration to reverse a number of damaging steps taken by the Trump administration with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to re-establish clear US support for a viable two-state solution.

Among the key actions they urged the president to take are:

  • Formally withdraw the previous administration’s “peace plan,” which paved the way for possible unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory;
  • Make clear that the United States considers settlements to be inconsistent with international law by reissuing relevant State Department and US customs guidance to that effect;
  • Strongly oppose the forced expulsion via eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem and throughout Palestinian territory;
  • Quickly fulfill the Biden administration’s welcome commitment to reopen a separate US consulate in Jerusalem; and
  • Consistently and proactively issue firm public condemnations of specific actions that violate the rights of either party or undermine the prospects for peace.

The letter’s signers include seven sitting committee chairs and other senior members of the House.

In response to this very important effort, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement:

“This letter from a significant portion of the Democratic caucus, signed by a number of House committee chairs and leaders, sends a critical message to the Biden administration that it can and should do much more to help undo the damage caused by former president Trump and to stop the ongoing deterioration of the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

“The Trump administration’s full-throated embrace of the settlement movement and the Israeli right did terrible damage to American credibility, empowered extremists and imperiled the future of both peoples. It’s therefore incumbent on the Biden administration to do everything in its power to rebuild productive ties with the Palestinian leadership and to make absolutely clear that the US will not stand for illegal settlement expansion, de facto annexation and displacement. The White House has already taken several very welcome steps in this direction — we hope more will follow.

“In the wake of last month’s terrible escalation in violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territory, a wide range of leading Democrats are making clear that much more action is needed to address the root causes of the conflict and truly support the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. With a new government taking office in Israel, the US has a critical opportunity to demonstrate publicly that our support for a lasting two-state solution is more than just lip service.”