Left-wing Israeli diplomats push Democrats to reject the ‘occupation’

Former Israeli diplomats who recently endorsed European boycott of Judea and Samaria now urging Democratic Party to pressure Israel.

By World Israel News Staff

A group of left-leaning former Knesset members and Israeli diplomats, in a letter sent Friday to the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee, urged them to reject the Trump peace plan and any idea of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, Times of Israel reported Sunday.

The letter was signed by 27 Israelis, whose names mostly match those on a letter in June to the Irish government in support of a bill that would force Irish entities to boycott Israeli companies based in Judea and Samaria, echoing arguments normally heard from Israel’s enemies.

Last week, the Democratic National Committee released a draft of the party’s election platform for the upcoming November elections in which the party added new language that opposes Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and specifically says the Democrats support Palestinian rights.

It didn’t go far enough for these former members of Israel’s diplomatic corps.

Signatories to the letter include former left-wing Meretz Party leader Zehava Galon; former Israeli consul general in New York Colette Avital; Baruch Binah, former deputy head of mission to the Israeli embassy in Washington, and several other former members of Knesset and senior diplomats.

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“We are reaching out to our friends in the Democratic Party to ask that you ensure that the party’s platform explicitly rejects Israel’s occupation over the Palestinian people, the Trump plan, and the annexation of any part of the occupied territories,” the former officials wrote.

“We call upon you to voice your support for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel with Jerusalem as a shared capital, and with both peoples living in peace and security,” they added.

The draft Democratic platform disappointed progressives in the party by not mentioning “the occupation” – a politically loaded term used by those who oppose Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.

The Democratic party platform is expected to be finalized at the Democratic National Convention, scheduled to open in Milwaukee on August 17.

The draft platform rejects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to apply Israeli sovereignty to some settlement areas in Judea and Samaria, reiterates support for the two-state solution, and calls for a return to the Iran nuclear deal, which President Trump pulled out of in 2018.

Although Netanyahu pledged to start the sovereignty process July 1, the idea has apparently been put on hold due to hesitation on the part of the Trump Administration over the details combined with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest related to the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Biden and Netanyahu have had what both call a long friendship, although the Democratic presidential candidate is on the record as being opposed to any unilateral Israeli imposition of sovereignty while at the same time supporting the long-term aid package agreed to during the Obama administration.

Although Biden told Jewish donors in May that he would “reverse the Trump administration’s steps that I think significantly undercut the prospects of peace,” he also said he would leave the American embassy in Jerusalem. In 2018, Trump moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital.