WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a top foreign policy Republican, says he sees no viable peace outcome except for two states, one for Israel and one for the Palestinians.
That puts him at odds with his party platform, the Trump administration and Israel’s government.
Graham in an interview published this week by the McClatchy news service referred to the peace plan soon to be unveiled by Jared Kushner, one of its main architects and US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law. While Kushner has said the plan does not necessarily count out two states, he has also said that he does not find the term useful and has instructed his team not to use it.
“I don’t want to get in the way of Jared,” Graham told McClatchy, “but I can’t envision a one-state solution. It won’t work. I mean, you’d have to disenfranchise the Palestinians. That won’t work. If you let them vote as one state, they’ll overwhelm the Israelis. That won’t work. So if you want to have a Democratic, secure Jewish state, I think you have to have two states to make that work.”
Graham helms the Appropriations Committee subcommittee handling foreign funding, where he wields strong foreign policy influence. He is also one of the Senate Republicans closest to Trump, who has retreated from backing a two-state solution.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also has retreated from backing two states, and McClatchy and others have reported that Israeli officials are pressuring Graham to remove “two-state solution” from a nonbinding resolution he and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., plan to introduce. Graham told McClatchy that he has not been subject to any pressure from officials.
The Republican Party removed the two-state solution from its platform in 2016. Democrats in recent months have endeavored to introduce the phrase into multiple pieces of legislation, some backed by Republicans.