Nearly 20 Democratic senators have signed a letter cautioning about Israel extending sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria. The letter comes two days after Abbas ended all agreements with Israel and the US. giving responsibility for the Biblical heartland to Israel.
Addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the 18 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.” It could also “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 continued. “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-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
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.”
The Democratic initiative comes two days after Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas officially declared an end to the agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the United States and gave the responsibility of the occupied territories back to Israel. It should also be noted that the PA rejected the obligations they had agreed to in the Oso Accords in 1995. As a result, they began building without permits in Area C which was designated as being under Israeli control.
“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,” the President declared at an emergency meeting for the Palestinian leadership held in Ramallah.
In addition to security and intelligence cooperation between the Israeli military and Palestinian security forces, civil ties between Israel and the PA were also set to cease.