Democratic Senators warn Netanyahu: Annexation will damage US-Israel relations

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., embrace after a Democratic presidential debate, July 30, 2019. (AP / Paul Sancya)

Bernie Sanders and 18 Democratic Senators claimed that Israel’s annexation of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria “puts both Israel’s security and democracy at risk.”

Eighteen Democratic senators and independent Bernie Sanders signed a letter cautioning Israel about extending sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

Addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the senators wrote that Israel applying sovereignty “would mark a dramatic reversal of decades of shared understandings between the United States, Israel, the Palestinians and the international community, and would have a clear impact on both Israel’s future and our vital bilateral and bipartisan relationship.”

The senators said “a unilateral annexation puts both Israel’s security and democracy at risk,” and would “betray our shared democratic values by denying Palestinians’ right to self-determination in a viable, sovereign, independent and contiguous state.”

They also claimed annexation “could bring an end to Palestinian security cooperation with Israel, directly threatening the security of the Israeli people, and endanger Israel’s crucial peace agreement with Jordan.”

They further wrote that annexation would “be met with deep concern from our mutual allies and partners, including Jordan and Egypt, and nearly universally viewed as a violation of international law.”

“The formalization of a fragmented and disconnected array of Palestinian islets surrounded by Israeli territory would be rejected by the international community as both unequal and undemocratic,” they claimed. “And most concerning, a unilateral annexation outside of a negotiated agreement would likely erode the strong support among the American people for the special relationship and diplomatic partnership with the United States that Israel currently enjoys.”

The signees of the May 21 letter were Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Patyy Murray (D-Wa.).

The letter was also signed by Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who ran for the democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential race but is technically an independent.

Earlier this week, former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, told Jewish Democrats that if Israel applies sovereignty to parts of the Judea and Samaria, it would “choke off any hope for peace.”

(World Israel News / JNS).

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