U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez penned a letter opposing Israel’s annexation proposals of Palestinian land with the backing of a dozen lawmakers and is gathering legislators’ signatures on a letter urging the Trump administration to take steps to block Israel’s planned annexation. A coalition of progressive Democratic politicians, rights groups and Jewish groups are also calling for withholding US military aid to Israel in response to planned annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.
The letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the annexation would “lay the groundwork for Israel becoming an apartheid state,” and pledges that the lawmakers would work to block future aid to Israel.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office said the trigger for conditioning aid includes settlements and other policies that are “laying the groundwork” for annexation.
“The United States must remain committed to a future in which all Israelis and Palestinians live with full rights, dignity, and democracy,” Ocasio-Cortez and a dozen other legislators said in the letter.
“We therefore urge you to make clear to the Israeli government that such a move is unacceptable,” they said in the letter.
“We will include human rights conditions and the withholding of funds for the offshore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them,” the letter also stated.
“Members of Congress should not be expected to support an undemocratic system in which Israel would permanently rule over a Palestinian people denied self-determination or equal rights.”
The statement was endorsed by more than 20 advocacy groups, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Arab American Institute (AAI), CodePink, Jewish Voice for Peace Action and IfNotNow.
Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressives who signed the letter issued statements opposing annexation in strong terms.“I have long believed that the United States needs to engage in an even-handed approach toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Sanders said in a statement.