Reactions from Congress to Trump’s Peace Sham

Trump's #PeaceSham was met with broad criticism from members of Congress.

We will regularly update this page with statements of opposition.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici: Today the President released a Middle East “peace plan” that was soon followed by an announcement that Israel plans to move forward unilaterally with annexing settlements in the West Bank.

This is not a viable path to a two-state solution, which must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.

Cementing the status quo would further deteriorate any trust among the two parties and diminish the possibility of achieving a peaceful resolution that respects the rights of Palestinians and ensures the long-term security of a democratic Israel.

Rep. Joaquin Castro: This plan, developed with Prime Minister Netanyahu, is a unilateral imposition on the Palestinian people that is not sustainable. Security and prosperity for the Israeli and Palestinian people is in the interests of the United States and as Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, I will advocate for our nation’s leadership on these issues. As we pursue a genuine and just peace in the Middle East, we need respectful, inclusive diplomacy, not phony publicity stunts.

Without a change in policy and approach, ordinary Israelis and Palestinians will continue to bear the costs of this Administration’s tone-deaf diplomacy. Rather than today’s display of political bullying, the United States must resume our role as a leader among nations, prioritize the values we hold dear, and demonstrate moral leadership in the Middle East.

Congressional Progressive Caucus: Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs, Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), released the following statement on the Trump Administration’s announcement pertaining to Israel and Palestine:

This isn’t a peace plan. Any proposal that refuses to include Palestinian voices is not a plan at all. Rather, it’s a further entrenchment of the disastrous status quo that violates international law and denies basic human rights to millions of people. This outrageous proposal undermines decades of U.S. policy and sends a signal that our government cannot be trusted to advance peace and diplomacy on the world stage.

The Trump Administration has shown that they will not pursue a fair, negotiated two-state solution. The White House has operated in bad faith from the outset – green-lighting annexation of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and cutting desperately-needed humanitarian funds for Palestinians – with catastrophic results for the security and stability of the region and American credibility abroad.

Neither Israelis nor Palestinians can afford a politically-motivated, counterproductive ‘peace plan’ that does nothing to secure peace or protect human dignity. Any viable peace plan must include both Israeli and Palestinian voices and prioritize real diplomacy and negotiation.

BACKGROUND: At the urging of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the House of Representatives voted in December to pass Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s bill, H. Res 326, supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Rep. Debbie Dingell: This is not a peace plan, it actually aggravates issues in the region. The negotiations did not include Palestinians, or buy-in from regional partners such as Jordan and Egypt. For peace to prevail, both states need to be treated fairly. To be clear, this package grants a conditional state in name only to the Palestinians. A state that could never be sovereign because it is not contiguous and is entirely surrounded by Israel. Further, providing no right of return for Palestinian refugees, annexing the Jordan Valley to Israel, and recognizing West Bank settlements as Israeli territory does not treat Palestinians as equals. This proposal holds the potential to further the conflict and occupation and is not an earnest attempt at peace in the region.

The United States must remain committed toward a just, two-state solution to the conflict that allows both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, side-by-side. In December, the House of Representatives reiterated that commitment.

Peace is never easy, and we must be clear-eyed about the obstacles that remain in resolving this conflict. This plan does not meet this standard, and is not a plan I can support.

Rep. Chuy Garcia: I have always strongly supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Trump’s plan doesn’t come close. His proposal does not advance a viable vision for peace, equality, and self-determination. Instead, it contradicts decades of bipartisan consensus on internationally recognized boundaries to adopt right-wing Israeli policy as the official stance of the United States. The Trump Administration has yet again released a half-baked plan and called it diplomacy.

Rep. Raul Grijalva: This ‘Deal of the Century’ is nothing more than a hand-out to Netanyahu and the far-right Israeli settler movement that will result in the mass annexation of Palestinian land and create an impasse for any future good-faith negotiations. This directly contrasts with a recently passed House resolution that rejected annexation attempts and expanded settlements while reaffirming support for a true two-state solution that benefits both sides.

Trump has proven himself a biased arbiter in this process from the very beginning when he moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, significantly downgraded the services at the U.S. Consulate for Palestinians, and cut all aid to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. After these actions, it’s absurd we’re expected to trust an impeached President Trump and a recently indicted Prime Minister Netanyahu to implement a peace plan that is absent of any Palestinian input.

This deal fails to represent the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States and will not achieve the long-lasting peace promised by the Trump Administration. Instead of a peace rooted in a personal political favor for an embattled political ally, the United States and international partners should pursue strong diplomacy that brings all voices to the table and creates a long-lasting, achievable solution for both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: It is absurd to call Trump’s plan a “peace plan” when Palestinian voices were barred from the discussion.

Today’s announcement is further evidence of President Trump’s desire to support Netanyahu’s racist policies over basic human rights for Palestinians.

Rep. Patrick Leahy: The one-sided Middle East plan that the President has announced is a striking example of President Trump’s familiar playbook of delusional hyperbole over reality.  After years of empty promises while systematically dismantling decades of bipartisan U.S. policy in order to benefit only one party, it is farcical to call something a ‘deal’ and impose it on the other party knowing it will be rejected.  It is a plan that would diminish the prospects for peaceful coexistence, while damaging our country’s hard-won role as a force for stability in the Middle East, which also has implications for U.S. security interests in the region and beyond.

The President’s plan is marketed as a roadmap for peace.  It is not. It is a roadmap for annexing settlements and territory, and indefinite occupation, while creating the mirage of a future Palestinian ‘state.’  It is about catering to an extreme constituency for whom the Palestinians exist as a threat to be intimidated, humiliated, and contained, not as a population and culture with legitimate rights, aspirations, and needs.

The Trump plan, which is also the Netanyahu plan, would deepen divisions and further erode hope for a peaceful and viable two-state solution.  It would damage relations with our ally Jordan. It would be cited to justify other forcible annexations of territory in violation of international law.

The Trump plan would also jeopardize Israel’s security.  Israel would either become a one-party, undemocratic state that depends on the perpetual oppression of millions of desperate and resentful Palestinians, or the Palestinians would be left with a diminishing patchwork of enclaves that only the most cynical would label a ‘state.’  Either portends continuing discord, extremism, and armed conflict.

Real peace between Israelis and Palestinians will not be won by fiat, force, or photo-ops.  It requires the kind of steady, responsible leadership and compromise shown by Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein, who understood that peace is possible only by building trust and genuinely addressing the interests of both parties.  That kind of leadership is sorely lacking today.

Rep. Barbara Lee: Make no mistake – this is not a peace plan; it’s a one-sided annexation plan that harms the goal of a two-state solution. If we truly want to achieve peace in the Middle East, we must actively engage both Israelis and Palestinian leaders, something the Trump Administration has consistently failed to do.

“Trump’s destructive annexation plan does not represent the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States, and I will continue to work to reverse the damage this administration has done to lasting peace in the Middle East. We must advance a viable, secure, and just two-state solution.

Rep. Andy Levin: @IsraeliPM: “Israel will apply its laws to the Jordan Valley and to the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.”  The word you’re looking for is “annex,” and it means disaster for Israel’s future as a democratic Jewish state and the Palestinian people.

Rep. Tom Malinowski: A one sided Middle East peace plan unilaterally imposed by the U.S. without input from or consultation with the other side (whether that happens to be the Palestinians or Israel) is not just bound to fail, it’s bound to deepen the divisions it’s meant to heal.

Sen. Jeff Merkley: A one-sided plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace developed without the consultation of one of the parties is not a genuine proposal for peace. As I emphasized in leading the Senate resolution reaffirming the longstanding U.S. policy to promote a two-state solution to this conflict, a two-state solution remains the best way to achieve a lasting peace, recognize the self-determination of both parties, and ensure Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state. Unfortunately, this plan takes yet another step away from that vision. It proposes a strategy of annexation and fragmentation that would jeopardize the possibility of a viable Palestinian state, putting us on a path further from prosperity and peace and toward generations of conflict. The United States needs to work to bring the parties to the negotiating table, not unilaterally push a plan incapable of delivering a sustainable and equitable peace.

Sen. Chris Murphy:  I appreciated the chance to see this proposal before it was released, but quite frankly, this isn’t a plan for peace. It’s an abandonment of decades of U.S. and multilateral work to create a two-state solution in the Middle East, and it seems to be guided by political, not policy, objectives. During my meeting this morning with Jared Kushner and Ambassador Friedman, I expressed to them my deep concern that this proposal, negotiated with no one but the Israelis, will eliminate any room to negotiate a real deal by setting up hard lines that the Israelis will now never be willing to cross. I also conveyed my alarm that this plan envisions the United States taking unilateral actions to cement the terms of this plan before a single negotiation takes place between Israel and the Palestinians.

It makes no sense, after waiting for three years, to unveil a plan with no Israeli government in place, and after no consultations with the Palestinians. It’s also no coincidence this plan supports recognizing illegal settlements and unilateral Israeli annexation, while discarding any notion of a two-state solution. There is no way there can be a real negotiation and peace agreement in the Middle East without both Palestinians and Israelis at the table and an even-handed negotiator. I wish the administration had spent the last three years engaged in that endeavor.

Rep. Ilhan Omar: This is not a peace plan. It is theft. It is erasure.

Rep. Mark Pocan: Once again, there is no peace plan without Palestinian input. This “plan” greenlights the permanent annexation of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank & takes no steps towards securing peace in the region.

This is not a two-state solution—it’s a massive step backwards.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley: Let’s remember: Trump has been impeached & Netanyahu was indicted. Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a planned distraction. I reject this pro annexation plan, it is a step in the wrong direction. #PeaceSham

Sen. Bernie Sanders: The United States can bring unequaled leadership to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we must use that leadership to promote a just and durable agreement. Any acceptable peace deal must be consistent with international law and multiple UN resolutions.

It must end the Israeli occupation and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent state of their own alongside a secure Israel. Trump’s so-called ‘peace deal’ doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict. It is unacceptable.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky: Today’s White House announcement is not a peace plan, but rather a peace scam. The timing of its roll-out was not designed to facilitate a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but rather was a desperate attempt to advance the political fortunes of a President and Prime Minister consumed by scandal. Had this been a serious plan, the Palestinians would have been part of a negotiation. They were not. Such a unilateral move is doomed to failure, and makes it harder to reach a real peace plan that includes two states for two peoples.

Sen. Chuck Schumer: We need a plan that will improve the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Any such plan must start by assuring Israeli security in a region where the threats are real and wars, like the conflict in Syria, are on Israel’s doorstep. I continue to believe that the goal must be a negotiated two-state solution with mutually agreed upon land swaps, a solution that ensures a safe and secure Israel can live side-by-side in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state that provides self-determination for the Palestinian people. A sustainable peace deal must be negotiated directly between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Both sides should come to the negotiating table. Unilateral action taken by either side in response to the release of the Trump administration’s plan will diminish the prospects of a future peace. Real diplomacy via direct negotiations, while a long and arduous road, is the only path for a durable peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Rep. Jackie Speier: Don’t be fooled by @POTUS’s “Ruse of the Century.” Green-lighting any form of annexation, without even talking to Palestinian leadership, is a plan for conflict and oppression, not peace. We cannot be gas-lit by two aspiring autocrats using a photo op as a political distraction.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib: It’s fitting that the @realDonaldTrump @netanyahu “plan” was released by a forever impeached President on the same day that Netanyahu was indicted for corruption. This political stunt gets us no closer to peace or justice. As a member of Congress, I consider it a non-starter.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen: The so-called Trump “peace plan” will only lead to more division and conflict. Claiming to advance peace without the involvement of one party to the conflict is a diplomatic hoax that undermines the chance of a genuine two-state solution. It’s an “anti-peace” plan.

Join Letter signed by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Sherrod Brown, Tom Udall, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Martin Heinrich, Patrick Leahy, Sheldon Whitehouse, Tammy Baldwin, Amy Klobuchar, Jack Reed and Tom Carper:
We write to express our profound concern regarding your decision to release a one-sided Israeli-Palestinian plan forged without any Palestinian involvement or support. Unilateral implementation of this one-sided proposal will risk eliminating any remaining prospects for achievement of a peaceful and viable two-state solution.

Unilateral U.S. endorsement of Israeli sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, over all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley guarantees Palestinian rejection and paves the way for full or partial Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Such a development would disregard international law, engender stiff opposition from our allies, and undermine existing U.S. policy regarding the unilateral annexation of Crimea, eastern Ukraine, northern Cyprus and elsewhere. It will also place allies like Jordan in an untenable position.

Furthermore, this proposal violates the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and will erode the long-term security interests of Israel by placing it on a course toward either a one-state solution that undermines the vision of a democratic Jewish state or a fragmented, disconnected and deeply unequal system of Palestinian islets surrounded by Israeli territory. Neither is a sustainable solution that supports the legitimate rights and aspirations of both sides. Any attempt to label a disconnected series of Palestinian islets a “state” would betray the vision of a sovereign Palestinian state.

The timing of this proposal to coincide with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s indictment on bribery charges also raises disturbing questions about your intention to intervene in the Israeli election process. For this reason, leading Israeli politicians had called for a delay in the plan’s release until after the March 2 Israeli elections.

Your administration has already reversed decades of bipartisan U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Previous presidents of both parties successfully maintained the respect of both Israelis and Palestinians for the United States’ role as a credible player in difficult negotiations. Your one-sided actions have made that impossible. It is clear that this latest White House effort is not a legitimate attempt to advance peace. It is a recipe for renewed division and conflict in the region. We urge your administration to demonstrate a real commitment to a viable two-state solution and to lay the foundation for a future that enables Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace, freedom, security, and prosperity.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Trump’s “peace plan” is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state. Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form—and reverse any policy that supports it.

Rep. John Yarmuth: Really looking forward to the iconic Camp David photo of Trump standing there as Netanyahu shakes hands with himself.