19 Senate Democrats call on Biden to make major step toward Palestinian state

President Joe Biden must publicly outline a path for the US to recognize a nonmilitarized Palestinian state governed by a reformed Palestinian Authority, 19 Democratic Senators wrote in a letter to Biden on Wednesday. 

The Palestinian state includes the West Bank and Gaza, the letter said. 

“Given the severity of the current crisis, this moment requires determined US leadership that must move beyond facilitation,” the Senators wrote. 

In the letter, the senators highlighted three overarching parameters the US should establish. 

  1. “A set of governmental and institutional reforms to the Palestinian Authority, among them reforms to democracy and governance, including: Reforms to the education system; Reforms to the judicial and security systems; Reforms to the prisoner payments program; and Concerted efforts to combat corruption and incitement to violence.”
  2. “A requirement for the reformed Palestinian Authority, as the governing body of the WestBank and Gaza, to reaffirm its recognition of the State of Israel.”
  3. “A mandate within the reformed Palestinian Authority for government ministers andsenior officials to commit to nonviolence, accept the principles of two states – an Israeli and a Palestinian state – and renounce Hamas and all terrorist activity.”

The senators expressed disappointment with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying his refusal to engage on a path to a Palestinian state gives the Biden administration more reason to lead and push the Israeli government to take specific actions.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks before a meeting of his Competition Council, in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo)

The letter called for Biden to take effective action against West Bank settler violence, end home demolitions and evictions of Palestinians from their property, stop settlement planning and construction in the West Bank, release customs revenues to the PA and reactive permits for Palestinian workers from the West Bank to enter Israel. 

The senators said they recognize none of these efforts are possible until there is a ceasefire in Gaza, all hostages are released, and “unfettered” humanitarian aid is allowed into the enclave. 

“Road to peace depends entirely on two-state solution”

“The road to enduring peace in the region depends entirely on the two-state solution—the establishment of a Palestinian state, existing in concert with a regionally-integrated Israel. Despite decades of US support for this policy, there has been limited success in bringing it to fruition,” the letter said. “In order to prevent future deaths and insecurity for both Palestinians and Israelis, the US must continue to take decisive action to bring about a two-state solution once and for all.”

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) lead the letter with signatures from Sens.Tammy Baldwin (D-WI.), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM.), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

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