Nearly 200 House Members Urge Trump to Voice 'Clear Support' for Two-state Solution

In letter, lawmakers call on Trump to stand by decades of U.S. peacemaking in the region.

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President Donald Trump pauses in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Friday, March 24, 2017.
President Donald Trump pauses in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Friday, March 24, 2017.Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

More than 190 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday, urging his administration to express clear support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Among those to sign the letter initiated by Reps. David Price (D-NC) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), are two Republicans: Walter Jones (R-NC) and John Duncan, Jr (R-TN).

"For decades, American presidents and Israeli prime ministers of all political parties have publicly supported and worked toward attaining a peace agreement that recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a democratic, Jewish state and establishes a demilitarized Palestinian state, coexisting side-by-side in peace and security," the letter states. "Today, we remain convinced that a two-state solution is the only outcome that would quell ongoing incidents of violence, maintain Israel as a secure, Jewish, and democratic state, and provide a just and stable future for the Palestinians." 

The members also warned Trump about considering a "one-state solution" to the conflict. During a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, Trump said that he "could live with" either that solution or the two-state solution. The House members wrote that "It is our belief that a one-state outcome risks destroying Israel’s Jewish and democratic character, denies the Palestinians fulfillment of their legitimate aspirations, and would leave both Israelis and Palestinians embroiled in an endless and intractable conflict for generations to come."

Last month, Trump's ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hailey, said that the administration was "absolutely" committed to a two-state solution, just like the two previous U.S. administrations were. But Trump himself has so far stopped short of stating support for the two-state solution, and so has Jason Greenblat, his special envoy, who completed his first visit to the region last week. Trump's newly-appointed ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, expressed strong opposition to the two-state solution before the 2016 election, but changed his position during his hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stating that he would be "happy" if that solution came to be.

The members who signed the letter wrote that "Leadership from the United States is crucial at this juncture. We must ensure that a comprehensive agreement between the two parties is not imposed and oppose unilateral actions by either of the two parties that would push the prospects for peace further out of reach." Trump seems to share that opinion - ever since his meeting with Netanyahu in February, he has expressed his "strong desire" to help facilitate an agreement between the parties. 

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