Last Sunday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him “a Trump-like figure.” In an interview to the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast, Ocasio-Cortez added that Netanyahu’s re-election is a part of “the ascent of authoritarianism across the world.”
When asked if she believes that Netanyahu’s talk about annexing parts of the West Bank should affect the United States policy towards Israel, the congresswoman responded: “I think so,” and said that “conversations are happening in our caucus.”
Ocasio-Cortez also gave a surprising answer to the question if she would support a move to cut military or economic aid to Israel when answered: “I think it’s certainly on the table.”
Last Friday, four of the most active supporters of Israel among House Democrats issued a rare public statement, warning from a possible move by Israel to annex the West Bank.
the four, Rep. Eliot L. Engel, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Rep. Ted Deutch, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism and Rep. Brad Schneider, signaled that Democrats would oppose annexation, creating a potential confrontation in the future between the Israeli government and pro-Israel Democrats in Congress.
“As strong, life-long supporters of Israel, a US-Israel relationship rooted in our shared values, and the two-state solution, we are greatly concerned by the possibility of Israel taking unilateral steps to annex the West Bank,” the four stated. They called for direct negotiation and reaffirmed their support for the two-state solution.
In an interview on Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s talk about annexing parts of the West Bank won’t heart President Donald Trump’s upcoming peace plan.
When asked if he thinks that Netanyahu’s vow to annex the West Bank might hurt the pursuit of peace by CNN’s Jake Tapper, Pompeo responded: “I don’t. I think that the vision that we’ll layout is going to represent a significant change from the model that’s been used.”
Pompeo also added that “we’ve had a lot of ideas for 40 years; they did not deliver peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Our mission set is to put forward a vision. Ultimately, the Israelis and the Palestinian people will have to make this – resolve this for themselves.”
During the last days of his reelection campaign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that he will consider annexing parts of the West Bank after the elections. The White House remained silent on that issue so far.
Mike Pompeo didn’t provide new details about the plan, but told Tapper that the administration’s vision to peace is “different” and “unique,” and that it would be a vision “that tries to re-frame and reshape what’s been an intractable problem that multiple administrations have grappled with, multiple administrations in Israel as well. We hope that we can get to a better place. Everyone wants this conflict resolved. We want a better life for the Israelis without this conflict, and we certainly want a better life for the people of – the Palestinian people, both in the West Bank and in Gaza.”