All but two Senate Democrats signed on to bill language Wednesday that would reaffirm U.S. support for a Palestinian state at the conclusion of the war between Israel and Hamas.
The amendment, attached to a broader national security package that would provide emergency aid to Ukraine and Israel, would reiterate U.S. backing for a “comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace.”
“Such a solution must ensure the state of Israel’s survival as a secure, democratic and Jewish state, and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own,” the amendment goes on.
Only two Democrats did not sign on: centrist Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and John Fetterman of Pennsylvania.
A Fetterman spokespersontold Axios the senator “strongly supports a two-state solution … and always has.” But the aide added that Fetterman “strongly believes that this resolution should include language stipulating the destruction of Hamas as a precondition to peace.”
Civil defense teams and Palestinians continue their search and rescue operations after an Israeli attack on the Omar Bin Abdulaziz Mosque in Rafah, Gaza on January 24, 2024. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced the amendment text shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently rejected any statehood for Palestinians at war’s end. His far-right government has contended a two-state solution would compromise Israel’s security, and Netanyahu said this month he told President Joe Biden as much.
“I told this truth to our friends, the Americans, and I also blocked the attempt to impose a reality that would harm Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said at a news conference. “The prime minister needs to be able to say no, even to our best friends.”
Schatz said Israel’s stance “accelerated” Democrats’ efforts to reaffirm American leaders’ support of a two-state solution. Dozens of House Democrats have also signed a similar letter.
“What this does is tell people that there is hope for a peaceful and prosperous and healthy future,” Schatz said in a call with reporters, per Axios. “It’s a message to Israel, but it’s also a message to Palestinians … it’s a message to the world that the only path forward is a two-state solution.”
Biden has expressed hope that his White House will be able to negotiate with Israel to end the conflict in Gaza, saying there were “a number of types of two-state solutions.”
“I think there’s ways in which this could work,” the president told reporters last week.