Democrats to Obama: Keep pushing for 2-state solution for Israel, Palestine

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Democrat Congressmen are urging the US president to “persevere” with a two-state solution for Israeli and Palestine. The recent election in Israel saw a win by incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who promised to never allow a Palestinian state.

A letter signed by 79 Democrat lawmakers called on President Barack Obama “to persevere in reaffirming that the two-state solution is still achievable.” Their concerns were raised by a recent statement by Netanyahu dismissing Palestinians’ right for a state of their own as long as he remains leader of the Jewish state.

READ MORE: No Palestinian state if I remain PM – Israel’s Netanyahu on election eve

The letter sent to the White House on Tuesday praised Obama’s support for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian issue and urged him to remain resolute in his efforts, expressing “strong reiteration of US support for this long-standing policy.”

“As staunch supporters of Israel, we are firmly committed to ensuring that it remains a secure and democratic homeland for the Jewish people,” the letter stresses.

The letter from Democrat lawmakers became yet another episode of the deepening divide within the American political establishment over US-Israeli relations.

The rift between US and Israel is more based on a clash of personalities rather than fundamental bilateral relations, independent geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser told RT.

"There has definitely been a rift that has grown in the personal relationship between Netanyahu and Obama; between the Israeli regime that he leads and the Obama administration. Part of that has to do with personalities and belligerent rhetoric that Netanyahu employed all throughout the campaign... But at the larger level this remains a personal question," Draitser said, adding that as the US moves into an election in 2016, the prospective candidates might distance themselves from Obama and move "towards a conciliatory tone with Israel and the maintenance of that special relationship."

The divide between Republicans and the Democrats of the Obama administration reached unprecedented levels in January, when the Israeli PM accepted an invitation from neocon lawmakers to give a speech in Congress - without the Obama administration’s consent.

READ MORE: Israeli PM’s unscheduled Congress speech causes diplomatic uproar in Washington

The GOP’s Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner gave the Israeli PM the go-ahead to speak to Congress about Iran, leaving Democrat representatives fuming.

"It's out of the ordinary that the speaker would decide that he would be inviting people to a joint session without any bipartisan consultation," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said.

In early March a group of US Republican senators wrote an open letter to Iran’s leaders suggesting that any decision based on nuclear negotiations with the current government and signed by President Obama could be revoked after he leaves office in early 2017.

Vice-President Joe Biden denounced the letter from GOP senators in the strongest terms, saying "The decision to undercut our president and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle.”

READ MORE: Biden fury at GOP senators' letter to Iran alleging nuke deal may be pulled post-Obama

After the success of Netanyahu’s Likud party in the March 17 election, Washington reaffirmed its commitment to a two-state solution and threatened to re-assess US-Israeli relations.

READ MORE: Netanyahu’s actions may make Washington 'reconsider' Israel policy - White House

On Monday, the Obama administration made it evident that American policy towards Israel is undergoing changes.

Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories has lasted for nearly five decades and “must end,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said in an address to the left-leaning Jewish American lobby group J Street.

“Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely,” he said. “An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state.”

READ MORE: Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories ‘must end’ – White House chief of staff

Republican hardliners hit back, accusing Obama of dropping the ball regarding Israel and the Islamic State.

“The president has his priorities so screwed up that it’s unbelievable,” Senator John McCain said.

READ MORE: US neocons rally to Netanyahu’s defense, call Obama’s priorities ‘screwed up’

The conflict in American establishment over the US-Israeli relations is escalating at as American support for a two-state solution in the Middle East is at a 20-year low, according to a new poll.

Thirty-nine percent of Americans surveyed recently said they support the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Monday this week concluded. The figure is 7 percent down from February 2014.

READ MORE: US support for two-state solution at 20-year low – report

Meanwhile, Palestine has finally secured its long-awaited membership of The Hague’s International Criminal Court, where the ICC newcomer wants to see Tel Aviv on the stand for alleged war crimes in Gaza.

As the US has been advocating Israel’s interests in all international organizations for decades, the American establishment is set to be dragged into the lawsuits that will inevitably follow.

READ MORE: Palestine gets ICC membership, opening door to Israel war crimes prosecution