WASHINGTON – A group of Democratic senators warned Tuesday that the Trump administration’s plan to redraw Israel’s borders will endanger Israel’s standing as a Jewish and democratic state, and raised “disturbing questions” about interference in Israel’s election.
The senators, including presidential contenders Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, wrote in a public letter to U.S. President Donald Trump that his plan “undermines the vision of a democratic Jewish state,” and could also harm Israel’s relationship with Jordan.
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Among the senators who wrote the letter were Chris Van Hollen (Maryland), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Tom Udall (New Mexico), Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) and Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders (both Vermont). They said in their letter that the timing of the publication of Trump’s plan suggests an attempt by the administration to interfere in the Israeli election on March 2.
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“The timing of this proposal to coincide with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s indictment on bribery charges also raises disturbing questions about your intention to intervene in the Israeli election process,” the senators wrote.
Netanyahu was formally indicted in three separate corruption cases on Tuesday, hours before the presentation of the peace plan at the White House.
The senators also wrote that Trump’s plan is “one-sided” and has opened the door to unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank. “Such a development would disregard international law, engender stiff opposition from our allies, and undermine existing U.S. policy regarding the unilateral annexation of Crimea, eastern Ukraine, northern Cyprus and elsewhere,” the senators wrote. “It will also place allies like Jordan in an untenable position.”
The lawmakers ended their letter to Trump by stating: “It is clear that this latest White House effort is not a legitimate attempt to advance peace. It is a recipe for renewed division and conflict in the region. We urge your administration to demonstrate a real commitment to a viable two-state solution and to lay the foundation for a future that enables Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace, freedom, security, and prosperity.”