On April 8, eleven members of Congress released a statement opposing the Israeli government’s potential annexation of the West Bank. The action comes amid reports that the country’s new coalition government will move forward with a unilateral annexation plan.
“Amidst the current global health pandemic and financial crisis, we urge all parties involved in the formation of a new government not to create an additional crisis by agreeing to move forward with unilateral annexation, the effects of which could yield additional catastrophic consequences for all parties in the region and beyond,” reads the statement.
The effort was led by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Rep. David Price (D-NC). It was also signed by ), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-NY), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).
The statement affirms that the lawmakers are “strong supporters of Israel and the United States-Israel relationship” and claims that annexation “runs counter to decades of bipartisan U.S. foreign policy.”
Haaretz recently reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz could move forward with the annexation plan this summer, if it’s done with the support of the United States and “other international players.”
Earlier this week, Palestinian political analyst Diana Buttu told Mondoweiss’s Yumna Patel that the COVID-19 crisis could provide Netanyahu with the cover needed to effectively push the annexation plan. “If there’s any time to go forward with annexation, it’s now, when everyone is focused on something else,” said, Buttu, “With everyone being ordered to stay in their homes, grassroots resistance is hindered,” Buttu noted. “Israel is using this opportunity to continue its occupation practices such as night raids, arrests, and home demolitions, and all the while activists cannot come together to protest or protect their communities because of the coronavirus.”