A majority of House Republicans have signed a letter supporting the Israeli government’s proposed annexation plan. This week, the Trump administration’s Middle East team will hold a series of meetings to determine how to proceed on the matter.
The letter, which was signed by 116 of 198 GOP House members, praises Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan and condemns Palestinian leadership for rejecting it. The letter asserts that the administration’s plan was “based on the critical premise that Israel should never be forced to compromise its security.”
The letter also addresses Democratic concerns about annexation. In recent weeks, a letter has circulated on the opposite side of the aisle, opposing annexation. The Republican letter takes aim at Democrats who have warned that annexation could potentially damage the U.S. relationship with Israel. “We are aware of and deeply concerned by threats being expressed by some to retaliate against Israel as it makes decisions to ensure defensible borders,” it reads, “It is shortsighted to threaten relations with Israel, a longtime friend and critical ally that shares our democratic values.”
Although most Democrats have publicly opposed annexation, very few have suggested that military aid should be conditioned if the move occurs. An earlier Democratic letter implied that the American people might begin to question its governments “unwavering security assistance” to Israel if annexation occurred, but such assertions have been removed. “The only redeeming feature of the initial language was its implicit threat to end Democratic support for Israel and to reexamine US military aid,” former US Campaign for Palestinian Rights Policy Director Josh Ruebner told me at the time, “With this language now stripped out, the milquetoast statement is even more bland than before. Arguably it now does more harm than good, signaling to Israel that it will face no serious repercussions from Democrats in the Senate if it goes through with annexation.”
This week, Palestinians held a huge anti-annexation protest in Jericho. “The UN believes annexation is against international law,” said UN peace envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov at the event, “If it happens, it might kill the very idea that peace and statehood for the Palestinian people can be achieved through negotiations.”