Senate Democrats have recently introduced a measure endorsing the establishment of a Palestinian state, receiving support from all members of their conference except for two notable exceptions.
This proposed amendment, part of a national security supplemental package, reiterates the United States’ backing for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It emphasizes that such a solution must ensure Israel’s survival as a secure, democratic, and Jewish state while simultaneously fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.
Senator Brian Schatz, hailing from Hawaii and sponsoring the amendment, highlighted the long-standing U.S. support for a two-state solution as a means to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region.
He underscored the necessity for distinct, inalienable, and mutually-recognized states for Israelis and Palestinians to coexist peacefully.
This move comes in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war, where the horrors of the conflict since October 7th have underscored the fundamental reality that both Israelis and Palestinians need distinct, inalienable, and mutually recognized states to live in safety and dignity.
The proposed amendment aims to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the vision of a two-state solution and is backed by 49 senators from every ideological wing of the Senate Democratic conference, including independents Sen. Bernie Sanders and Kyrsten Sinema.
However, centrist Sen. Joe Manchin and vocal Israel supporter Sen. John Fetterman have not signed on. Manchin expressed that once a Palestinian government, with its people’s best interests at heart, agrees that Israel should be a state, he would be the first to sign on to a bipartisan amendment supporting Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian state.
Fetterman’s spokesperson mentioned his support for a two-state solution but added that any resolution should include language stipulating the destruction of Hamas as a precondition for peace.
The backdrop for this amendment is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of U.S. calls for a Palestinian state after the Israel-Hamas war.
Despite President Biden’s urging for restraint in the military offensive in Gaza, Netanyahu insisted that the conflict would not end until Hamas is dismantled and the remaining 130 hostages held by the group are freed.
Netanyahu voiced concerns that a Palestinian state could become a launching pad for attacks on Israel, emphasizing the need for Israeli security control over Gaza and the West Bank.
Senator Schatz hopes to tie his amendment to a forthcoming $110 billion national security supplemental package, which would deliver military aid to Israel and Ukraine, along with funds for border security.
However, negotiations between Republicans and Democrats have faced challenges in reaching a deal that would pass both the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-led House, with disagreements primarily revolving around border security policies.
In conclusion, the proposed amendment reflects a significant development in the U.S. stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Democrats pushing for a two-state solution and recognizing the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.
The nuances within the Democratic caucus, including the notable exceptions of Senators Manchin and Fetterman, highlight the complexities surrounding this issue and the challenges in achieving a consensus on the path forward.