US House lawmakers issued a strong rebuke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump on Friday, passing a resolution opposing Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank and supporting a two-state solution.
Earlier this week, Netanyahu spoke to Trump about potentially annexing the Jordan Valley. Since March, the prime minister has vowed to annex the West Bank region and has recently intensified those calls as he remains in a fierce battle to maintain his grip on power.
The resolution, known as H.Res.326, calls on the Trump administration to “expressly endorse a two-state solution as its objective and discourage steps by either side that would put a peaceful end to the conflict further out of reach, including unilateral annexation of territory or efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework of negotiations with Israel.”
It passed Friday mostly on partisan lines — by a vote of 226-188-2 — with the overwhelming support of House Democrats and some Republicans.
In recent years the Trump administration has moved away from its support for a two-state solution.
Last month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US is softening its position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Pompeo repudiated a 1978 State Department legal opinion that held that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.”
US moves that have weakened Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood have included President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the moving of the US embassy to that city and the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington. These moves have been widely, though not universally, welcomed in Israel.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and his point man for the Middle East peace process, has said that the administration’s as-yet-unreleased peace plan would avoid speaking about the two-state solution.
“I realize that means different things to different people,” he said earlier this year. “If you say ‘two states’ to the Israelis it means one thing, and if you say ‘two states’ to the Palestinians it means another thing. So we said, ‘let’s just not say it’. Let’s just work on the details of what this means.”
Header: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points at a map of the Jordan Valley as he gives a statement, promising to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, in Ramat Gan on September 10, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)