WASHINGTON — Five Democratic senators, including the party’s deputy leader in the chamber and two leading presidential candidates, on Thursday introduced a resolution decrying any Israeli plan to annex West Bank territory, an apparent shot across the bow at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has recently spoken in support of extending Israeli law to all settlements.
“Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank would jeopardize prospects for a two-state solution, harm Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors, threaten Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity, and undermine Israel’s security,” said the non-binding resolution.
It said the “the policy of the United States should be to preserve conditions conducive to a negotiated two state solution.”
The resolution was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Wash., joined by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the deputy minority leader, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Sanders and Warren were among the Democratic presidential candidates who decried Netanyahu’s pledge, before Israel’s April 9 elections, to annex all Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The elections were indecisive and Israelis go to the polls again in September, while Netanyahu remains prime minister.
The liberal Mideast policy organization J Street welcomed the resolution.
“This resolution is an important warning to the Trump administration against any attempts to encourage annexation or undercut the ultimate prospects for a two-state solution,” group president Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.
Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump have retreated from endorsing a two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is set later this month to unveil the economic component of a peace plan he has been preparing for two years.
Feinstein and Sanders are Jewish and Durbin and Duckworth have longstanding relationships with the pro-Israel community.