Israeli lawmakers slam AIPAC head for ‘two-state’ comments

Likud MKs joined other leaders in Israel in decrying comments made by the AIPAC CEO expressing support for a Palestinian state.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Likud MKs and party activists called Monday for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to “update its talking points” after its CEO had emphasized the importance of establishing a Palestinian state, albeit through direct negotiations, at the group’s annual conference.

In his address, Howard Kohr echoed many of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s favorite themes, praising America’s continued unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and condemning Iranian aggression.

Kohr, however, added, “We must all work toward that future, two states for two peoples: one Jewish with secure and defensible borders and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future.”

In reaction, Hotovely stated that the Gaza disengagement proved that the two-state solution  leads to more terrorism, and praised the Trump administration for its willingness to “think anew” about the issue.

Likud MK Yehuda Glick reiterated that Israel’s current leadership is on a new page, and warned, “AIPAC is a big and important friend of Israel, but if it pretends to represent the official position of the State of Israel to elected officials in the United States, it must do so faithfully.”

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In addition, Shevach Stern, a leading Likud activist, pointed out in a statement that, “just two months ago, the internal committee of the country’s ruling party voted to apply Israeli sovereignty to Judea, Samaria and Greater Jerusalem — a 180 degree difference from the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

These sentiments echoed a letter written Sunday by Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan to the AIPAC leadership following Kohr’s remarks, in which he stated, “I am astounded as to why such a great, meaningful organization as AIPAC, whose raison d’etre is pro-Israel advocacy in the United States, would present the positions of the State of Israel (and of the US) so inaccurately before senior government officials, senators and congressmen, and the general pro-Israel public.”

“The official government of Israel guidelines,” he continued, “contain not one word or even hint of support for the ‘two-state solution,’” calling for AIPAC to “update its talking points.”

By way of background, Kohr’s statements are completely in line with AIPAC’s current official position, which states: “A durable Israeli-Palestinian peace can best be achieved through direct negotiations between the two parties, resulting in a Jewish state living side-by-side in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state.”

President Trump, for his part, has expressed support a two-state solution only if both sides agree to this approach.