Jun 6, 2019

Senate draft resolution challenges Netanyahu on West Bank annexation

Netanyahu heads to a meeting at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A group of Democratic senators today introduced a draft resolution opposing possible Israeli annexation of the West Bank and affirming U.S. support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Why it matters: This is an attempt to deter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from putting his rhetoric on annexation into action. The resolution has no Republican backers and is unlikely to pass, but will nonetheless send a message to the Israeli government. It comes as the Trump administration prepares to launch its Middle East peace plan.

The draft resolution was introduced by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, who was joined by Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin, Tammy Duckworth, Tammy Baldwin and Tom Udall.

  • The draft resolution is also supported by J Street, the Israel Policy Forum, and Mercy Corp.

What they're saying: "Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank would jeopardize prospects for a two-state solution, harm Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors, threaten Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity and undermine Israel’s security."

  • The resolution also says the Trump administration's efforts to promote peace between the Israelis and Palestinians "should explicitly endorse a two-state solution as the goal of any process to resolve the conflict’s core issues."

Meanwhile, we reported yesterday on another draft resolution, pushed by Senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen, that also supports the two state solution.

  • Another bipartisan draft resolution was introduced yesterday in the House of Representatives by Democrat Nita Lowey and Republican Jeff Fortenberry. It would create a $50 million dollar fund for joint Israeli-Palestinian economic projects and people-to-people activities.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

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Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to fewer than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.