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Israel trying to prevent Senate resolution backing two-state solution

US Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during his media conference at JW Marriott Hotel in Ankara, Turkey on 19 January 2019 [Murat Kaynak / Anadolu Agency]
US Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during his media conference at JW Marriott Hotel in Ankara, Turkey on 19 January 2019 [Murat Kaynak / Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli government is working to “prevent the Senate from passing a bipartisan resolution endorsing a two-state solution”, according to a report in Axios.

Drafted by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, the resolution is expected to be tabled soon. “As a bipartisan measure backed by a close Trump ally like Graham,” Axios noted, it “would be expected to win a substantial majority.”

Citing unnamed Israeli officials and congressional staffers, the report claimed that Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, and other Israeli embassy officials “have been lobbying Graham and Van Hollen to remove the words ‘two-state solution’ from the text”.

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“The Israeli diplomats have told Graham and Van Hollen they don’t oppose a general resolution calling for direct negotiations between the parties with no preconditions, so long as it doesn’t deal with the end game or the parameters of such talks,” Axios added.

Graham and Van Hollen have reportedly so far “rejected the Israeli lobbying efforts”.

Bridgett Frey, a spokesperson for Van Hollen, told Axios: “Both Senators Van Hollen and Graham are long-time supporters of a two-state solution and are working on the best way to advance that commitment in Congress.”

The report added that “the Israeli embassy in Washington did not deny this account but refrained from commenting.”

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