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With the blessing -- indeed the urging -- of Donald Trump’s White House, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the midst of preparations to annex vast swaths of the West Bank. A joint committee, manned by representatives of Netanyahu and Trump, and headed by Trump’s ambassador to Israel David Friedman, is working on a detailed map delineating the territory – as much as 30% of the West Bank – that Israel will claim as its own.
A group of members of the House of Representatives is signing a letter (click HERE to read the letter) to Prime Minister Netanyahu and his ministers of defense and foreign affairs urging them to reconsider this destructive measure.
Netanyahu is rushing toward annexation to take advantage of the Trump administration’s support for such a move. He said he will start the legislative process to bring annexation to a Knesset vote in less than two weeks and indicated his intention to fast-track it through the Israeli parliament. Netanyahu and his aides refer to the next six months as an “historic opportunity” to establish facts on the ground. They hope that Trump’s Israel policy, an aberration inconsistent with decades of bipartisan US policy, will establish irreversible facts on the ground which cannot be revoked by future US administrations.
We cannot let that happen. Time is of the essence. We must do all we can, now, to prevent Netanyahu and Trump from taking steps that may deny Israelis and Palestinians the chance to ever live in peace.
West Bank annexation is a violation of international law and of Israel’s treaty commitments with the Palestinians. It is a gross violation of Palestinians’ right to statehood. It jeopardizes Israel’s vital relationships with allied states and the stability of the Palestinian Authority. It will compromise Israel’s security, threaten Israel’s democratic character, undermine Israel’s global standing, harm American national security interests, and further damage the relationship between the US and Israel.