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Palestinian Members of Israeli Parliament Call on Democrats to Oppose Annexation

"Democrats have a decision to make. Will they keep wringing their hands and expressing 'concern,' or are they going to do something about it?"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with US President Donald Trump prior to the President's departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on May 23, 2017 in Jerusalem. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images)

All 15 members of the Israeli Knesset's Joint List have sent a letter to congressional Democrats, calling on them to oppose annexation. The Joint List faction is a coalition of Arab-majority political parties in the country.

"We, members of the Joint List, the third most supported Party in recent elections, representing the Palestinian minority in Israel as well as progressive Jews, are writing to share our concerns regarding the impending plans advanced by the Israeli government, and supported by the US administration, to annex parts of the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. According to the agreements within the Israeli governing coalition, acts of annexation could commence in the coming days," begins the letter.

The Trump administration's Middle East team has been meeting this week to determine how to address the Israel government's proposed annexation plans. Many observers that they will effectively give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a green light, although they were reportedly unable to reach a decision this week.

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In addition to calling on congressional Democrats to fight against annexation and the Trump administration's "peace plan", the Joint List letter also calls on the Biden administration to take a strong stance on the matter if he wins the election in November: "We urge you to take a firm stand against this action and use all the tools at your disposal, legislative and public, to stop it."

Although he publicly opposes Israel's annexation plans, Biden has referred to the concept of conditioning military aid to the country as a "gigantic mistake" and "absolutely outrageous."

"The third-largest political party in the Israeli Knesset is now directly asking Congress to take action and set consequences. Democrats have a decision to make. Will they keep wringing their hands and expressing 'concern,' or are they going to do something about it? Either they will listen and finally protect Palestinian rights, or they will go down in history as being complicit in 21st-century apartheid," Jewish Voice for Peace Action Government Affairs Manager Beth Miller told Mondoweiss.

House Democrats are currently circulating a letter opposing annexation, but its wording is based around concerns for Israel's security and there's no mention of holding the country accountable for any of its actions towards Palestinians. A letter developed by Senate Democrats earlier this year implied that the United States/Israel relationship could be threatened by annexation, but any mention of this possibility was quickly removed.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the US correspondent for Mondoweiss and the author of Medium Blue: The Politics of MSNBC.

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