Meeting with a senior Palestinian official, Senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen voiced support for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
By World Israel News Staff
Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris Van Hollen met with senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, a longtime Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator, during a visit by the two senior senators to Israel this week, according to reports.
Erekat used the bipartisan composition of the senatorial delegation to circumvent what the PA says has been a boycott of diplomatic contacts with the U.S. government since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according to one source.
At the center of the conversation, apparently, was the U.S. law that bars American aid to the PA as long as it continues to provide monthly stipends to terrorists and their families. Israel has also imposed financial sanctions, bolstered by Knesset legislation, against the Palestinians over the terror payments.
The meeting with Erekat took place on Tuesday, according to Axios, one day after Graham and Van Hollen met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Van Hollen has spoken out against Washington’s halt to financial aid for programs for Palestinians run by the USAID agency.
For his part, Graham stressed his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel in what is referred to as a two-state solution, even though President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, senior adviser Jared Kushner, have at various times raised questions over whether a two-state solution is part of the still-awaited U.S. political plan for Israelis and Palestinians.
“Graham and Van Hollen arrived in Israel as part of their work on a draft Senate resolution that will support a two-state solution,” says Axios. The Israeli Embassy in Washington has been lobbying both senators to drop the term “two-state solution” from the text, but they have refused, says the news outlet.
“I want everybody to understand there is no one-state solution. I will not invest a dime in a situation that results in one state. It is a bad deal for America. If you believe in a democratic Jewish state, it is lost over time from the demographics of merging the two peoples,” Graham said at a news conference with Van Hollen in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
“We think it is important to send a signal to the Palestinians who want to live in peace with Israel that there is a road to getting there. We want to keep alive the possibility for the two-state solution,” said Van Hollen.