Right-wing MKs to congresspeople: 2-state solution ‘far more dangerous’ than BDS

Responding to House resolution condemning boycott movement, 21 Israeli lawmakers urge their US counterparts to stop calling for establishment of Palestinian state

Raphael Ahren is a former diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

A girl raises a Palestinian flag as another Palestinian boy holds a wooden key symbolizing the return, as they stand with others before the barbed-wire marking the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 13, 2018. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)
A girl raises a Palestinian flag as another Palestinian boy holds a wooden key symbolizing the return, as they stand with others before the barbed-wire marking the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 13, 2018. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

A group of right-wing lawmakers, including two deputy ministers, sent a letter on Monday to four US lawmakers warning that calls for a two-state solution are “far more dangerous to Israel” than efforts to boycott the Jewish state and urging them to refrain from such appeals in the future.

The letter, signed by 21 Knesset members, comes on the heels of a resolution passed with an overwhelming majority last month in the US House of Representatives that rejects the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel but also explicitly calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“Israel is grateful to all our wonderful friends in Congress who stand with us on so many fronts. However, we would like to express to you our concern regarding the anti-BDS resolution (H. Res. 246),” the letter reads.

“We believe it contains a grave error because it expresses, among other things, support for a so-called ‘Two-State Solution,’ meaning the establishment of a ‘Palestinian state’ in the heart of tiny Israel… We would like to make our position clear that the establishment of a Palestinian state would be far more dangerous to Israel than BDS.”

Members are sworn in at the House of Representatives during the opening session of the 116th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 3, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

The letter was sent to the offices of the four Congressmen who co-sponsored the resolution — Brad Schneider, Lee Zeldin, Jerry Nadler and Ann Wagner. It was written and sent at the initiative of Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, the Land of Israel caucus in the Knesset and the National Conference of Likud, an informal group of hawks within the ruling party.

It was signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan (United Right), and Likud MKs Avi Dichter, Gideon Sa’ar, Yoav Kisch, Uzi Dayan and others.

House Resolution 246, which also calls for increased security aid to Israel, passed by a 398-17 margin, with five abstentions.

It resolved to oppose BDS, “including efforts to target United States companies that are engaged in commercial activities that are legal under United States law, and all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel.”

It also expressed “strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states — a democratic Jewish State of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state — living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.”

A screenshot of C-Span at the end of a tally of a US House of Representatives vote to condemn the boycott Israel movement on July 23, 2019.

In the letter, the Israeli lawmakers argued that United States pressure to establish a Palestinian state contradicts the position of US President Donald Trump, who has said many times that the Israel-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved through negotiations between the two parties.

“It also opposes the position of the Government of Israel and also opposes the position of the majority of the public in Israel. All this is due to the fact that this demand is both unjust and also severely jeopardizes the security of the State of Israel,” according to the missive.

Creating a Palestinian state in the region would “severely damage” both Israel’s and America’s national security, the Israeli legislators wrote.

They went on to urge their American colleagues to refrain from endorsing the two-state paradigm in the future.

“As politicians, we understand that these resolutions are accompanied by many compromises along the way in order to reach a language agreed upon by a majority,” they wrote. “However, the affirmation of support for establishing a Palestinian state is so dangerous that we respectfully request that you take that into consideration, and in the future avoid determining that establishing an additional Arab state on territory that is the Land of Israel is part of the solution to the dispute.”

Dagan, one of the settlement movement’s most vocal advocates, blamed the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for the congress member’s support of a two-state solution.

Samaria regional council head Yossi Dagan speaks during a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, December 13, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Unfortunately, in recent years AIPAC has been independently promoting the two-state solution. AIPAC misleads American officials and presents the two-state solution as an Israeli interest and as the position of the State of Israel, even though the two-state solution is not the position,” he said in a press release.

The anti-BDS resolution is a “cat in the sack,” he went on, positing that the members of Congress relied on AIPAC and thus unwittingly backed a call for a Palestinian state. “It’s a scandal.”

Yishai Fleisher, a spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron who helped promote the letter, told The Times of Israel that pro-Israel advocates have an opportunity to move away from the two-state paradigm.

“Things on the ground have changed and so has the political reality. It’s time to reexamine the failed thinking of the past and to move away from the empowerment of a corrupt and jihadist Palestinian Authority,” he said.

“Israel’s friends in Congress need to know that there are other better options, in which Israel will remain the sovereign in Judea, and which will lead to coexistence and security.”

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