All 15 Knesset members from the Joint List sent a letter on Thursday, June 25, to members of the Democratic Party in the US Congress urging them to take a firm stand against Israel’s plans to annex portions of the Palestinian occupied West Bank.
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), who initiated the letter, said about the appeal to Congress: “The annexation and the occupation are international issues. The US administration constantly intervenes in the region and gives backing to the oppression of Palestinians. The administration can give the green light or put the brakes on annexation. Therefore, we have asked members of the Democratic Party, who might assume power soon, to express their clear objection to Israel’s annexation plans, to denounce the entire Trump plan, and to clarify that, if such plans are implemented, future administrations will not recognize their legitimacy. Annexation is illegal according to international law and is a crime against the Palestinian people. The entire international community must stand against it.”
The letter signed by the 15 MKs from the Joint List reads as follows: “The act of annexation was endorsed and encouraged by the current US administration in the context of its so-called ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan. Let us be clear, without the administration’s plan, annexation would unlikely be considered by the Israeli leadership. That plan was adopted by all of the factions comprising the new governing coalition in Israel – some with more enthusiasm, some with polite reservations.”
“The plan marks a new low point in this administration’s embrace of the positions of Israeli hardliners, the legitimization of the illegal settlement project and the support for Israeli expansionism,” the letter continued. “It is not a peace plan, but a plan for the continuous dispossession and denial of basic rights and freedoms for the Palestinian people, condemning them to a life of perpetual inequality.”
“Annexation of any parts of the West Bank will be a clear violation of international law and of UN Security Council resolutions, and as such has broader global implications for the rule of law, universal values and norms. We would respectfully suggest that this undermines American interests. We caution that any such move will destabilize the region further and will heighten the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and its neighbors, notably Jordan.”
“We would like to express our unequivocal support for the struggle for equality and to achieve historic as well as contemporary racial justice in the US. The Black Lives Matter movement is inspiring and empowering our struggle here for justice and equality for all.”
The letter emphasized that – if annexation goes ahead – the responsibility rests with the US imperialism as much as with the far-right Israeli government, because it was initiated as part of US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century”: “The United States administration plays a central role in the promotion of this destructive initiative and bears great responsibility for this devastating act that will narrow any chance for peace between Israelis and Palestinians and will entrench inequality. The United States could also be instrumental in preventing such an act.”
On the same day the letter was transmitted to Washington, a group of Democratic congressional representatives sent a letter to Israeli leaders urging reconsideration of annexation plans which, they implied, could harm the country’s relations with the US if it goes forward. “Unilateral annexation could create serious problems for Israel with its European friends and other partners around the world. We do not see how any of these acute risks serve the long-term interests of a strong, secure Israel,” the letter congresspersons wrote.
The letter was initiated by Democratic Congressmen Ted Deutch (Florida) and Brad Schneider (Illinois), who are regarded as pro-Israel, according to The Hill, and was signed by 189 Democratic members of the House of Representatives. Among the signatories were House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin. No Republican members of Congress signed the letter.