A group of Senate Republicans sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday in support of Israel annexing parts of the West Bank, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated the Jewish state intends to do by July 1.
The letter was signed by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).
The senators wrote to express their support for the implementation of the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan released earlier this year, “including the extension of Israeli civil law into Israeli communities and areas critical for Israel’s security such as the Jordan Valley.”
The letter then slams U.S. support for U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 in December 2016 that denounces Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The United States chose not to exercise its automatic veto and instead abstained from it, thereby allowing for the resolution to pass. The abstention was seen by critics to be a final parting shot at Israel by former President Barack Obama before leaving office.
The senators praise Trump from the moment he took office in January 2017 for taking “systematic steps to begin rendering UNSCR 2334 null and void,” such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which Trump did the following December, and moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv the following May; recognizing Israeli control over the Golan Heights in March 2019; and rejecting “the position that all Israeli communities beyond the June 1967 lines are illegal under international law.”
While the letter acknowledges that Netanyahu “recently announced that the Israeli government will extend Israeli civil law into some of the territories” in which it’s Israel’s sovereign prerogative to do so, the senators state that “their decision takes place against the backdrop” of the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan.
The Senate GOP letter came as members of the House GOP have signed a letter in support of annexation.