June 4, 2020
Dear Vice President Biden,
As a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, we do not engage in electoral work and we do not support or oppose candidates. What we do is work for a peaceful two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security.
Unfortunately, that vision of two sovereign states living side by side is under threat. Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government are finalizing their plans for unilateral annexation of West Bank territory. They have recently indicated that they are rushing toward annexation to take advantage of the Trump administration’s support for such a move. They refer to the next six months as a “historic opportunity” to establish facts on the ground. They hope that Trump’s view, an aberration inconsistent with decades of bipartisan US policy, would not be revoked by future US administrations.
That is why we are writing to urge you to declare now that if you are elected as the next president of the United States, you will not recognize any unilateral Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank. Such a statement, now, could convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to cancel its annexation plan. At the very least, if Netanyahu does annex before you take office, it would make it easier for you to confront Netanyahu over this unhelpful policy in the future.
Should you enter the Oval Office in January 2021 as the 46th president of the United States, you will likely need to move to roll back many of the Trump administration’s damaging policies. Among them will be his reckless policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike other policies, which you can only address once in office, there are things you can do now regarding Israeli-Palestinian relations to keep the hope of peace alive.
Israeli leaders may think twice, or even reverse course, if they are put on notice, now, that Washington’s official policy may be reversed in a few short months.
It is therefore imperative that you declare now, preemptively, that as President of the United States, you will not recognize Israel’s unilateral annexation of West Bank territory. American Jews, who overwhelmingly support the two-state solution, would support you. And, as they always have, most American Jews would support presidential leadership in effectively and equitably brokering an Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process in pursuit of peace.
Acting now, Mr. Vice President, could avert disaster in one of the most sensitive conflict hotspots on earth, and serve US national security interests.
Jim Klutznick, Chair of the Board and Hadar Susskind, President and CEO