Democratic lawmakers are furious with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for rejecting the idea of creating an independent Palestinian nation after fighting in the Gaza Strip ends.
Netanyahu was blunt about his intentions during a news conference on Thursday, saying that Israel “needs security control over all territory” west of Jordan after the war, he said. “This collides with the idea of sovereignty.”
A two-state solution has been a key goal of the Biden administration as it plans the post-war future in the region. But Netanyahu signaled that he won’t take Washington’s pleas into account.
“The prime minister needs to be capable of saying no to our friends,” he said.
After leaving a Thursday meeting about the Middle East crisis with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Chris Van Hollen said Washington is fed up with Israel’s leadership.
“I think people are at the end of their ropes with the Netanyahu coalition … which includes pretty right-wing extremists,” Van Hollen told POLITICO. “It’s pretty clear that Netanyahu is listening much more to the extremists in his government than the president of the United States and the Biden administration.”
The Maryland Democrat argued that Biden ought to abandon “quiet diplomacy” with Netanyahu, along with the “mixed signals” sent “when the Biden administration bypasses congressional notification to rush more artillery, and other weapons to Israel, when at the same time, they’re telling Netanyahu to reduce the number of civilian casualties.”
Van Hollen is spearheading an amendment to the multibillion-dollar national security supplemental to mandate the president ensure that countries receiving U.S. military assistance, including Israel, use the weapons in accordance with U.S. law, international humanitarian law and the laws of armed conflict.
Van Hollen announced Friday that the number of Democratic co-sponsors for the amendment had grown from a dozen to 18.
Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) have recently signed on. The initial group comprised Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.). [Continue reading…]