In a new public letter, the overwhelming majority of the House Democratic Caucus joined a growing chorus of opposition to possible Israeli unilateral annexation of the occupied West Bank, which could move forward as early as next week.
House members who signed the letter written and circulated by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Ted Deutch, David Price and Brad Schneider added their voices to those of other Democratic leaders and lawmakers, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, over three quarters of Senate Democrats and 10 Senate challengers competing in key races across the country.
In the letter, addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, 189 Members of Congress 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 Democratic party, from the House to the Senate to the next president of the United States, has now made absolutely clear that they do not and cannot support unilateral annexation in the West Bank,” said J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami. “For the Israeli government to carry out annexation in the face of this overwhelming opposition would be incredibly harmful to the future of Israelis and Palestinians and to US interests.”
The show of unity among Democratic lawmakers reflects a growing chorus of opposition from American Jewish organizations and leaders, the Israeli security establishment and key US and Israeli allies. Over 220 Israeli former generals have warned of potentially disastrous security risks, while over 600 Jewish clergy signed a public letter cautioning that annexation would “violate human rights, weaken democracy, and make Israelis and Palestinians less secure.”
Prominent Israelis have urged American lawmakers and public officials to continue to speak out against annexation. Earlier this month, 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.”