Settler Leader Slams AIPAC for ‘Falsely’ Claiming Israel Supports Two-State Solution

AP Photo/Bernat Armangu
AP Photo/Bernat Armangu

TEL AVIV – A settler leader on Monday slammed AIPAC’s support for a two-state solution, saying its reasons for doing so had “no basis in fact,” in a harshly-worded letter sent to the directors of the pro-Israel lobby Monday.

Other Israeli leaders, including politicians from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, also criticized AIPAC over the group’s support for the two-state solution.

The assumption that the two-state solution is the most viable way of resolving the conflict “has no basis in fact,” Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan wrote to AIPAC leaders, including president Lillian Pinkus and executive director Howard Kohr.

“The official government of Israel guidelines … contain not one word or even hint of support for the ‘two-state solution,’” he said.

The coalition accords signed after the 2015 elections in Israel made no mention of the peace process. In addition, Dagan pointed out, that while the U.S. National Security Strategy under the Obama administration supported the two-state solution, there was no mention of it by the Trump administration.

AIPAC’s 2017 briefing book on the topic begins by stating, “Israel is committed to a two-state solution—a Jewish state living side-by-side in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state. The United States must send a clear message that this goal can be achieved only through direct negotiations between the parties.”

On Sunday, AIPAC’s Executive Director Kohr opened its annual policy conference by calling for “two states for two peoples.”

“We must all work for that, 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,” he said.

Kohr lamented that “today that dream seems remote. This is tragic. The absence of a constructive peace process is nothing to celebrate. Israel’s security cannot be fully assured and a promise cannot be fully realized until she is at peace with all her neighbors, and peace begins by talking.”

In response, Dagan wrote, “I am astounded as to why such a great, meaningful organization as AIPAC … would represent the positions of the State of Israel (and of the United States) so inaccurately before senior government officials, senators and congressmen, and the general pro-Israel public.”

“The position that AIPAC is representing as that of the State of Israel … not only fails to represent Israel properly, but is detrimental to the efforts to achieve dialogue in the Middle East,” he continued.

Trump has not specifically endorsed a two state scenario, saying only that he would support whatever solution the two sides agree upon.

The two-state solution, which calls for a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, has been the basis for all Israeli-Palestinian negotiations for the past two decades, yet so far every Israeli offer of a state has been rejected by the Palestinian leadership.

The Knesset Caucus also joined Dagan’s campaign, telling AIPAC: “The ruling party, the Likud, in 2002 voted and presented an official policy statement rejecting the two-state notion, and this policy remains in place.”

The caucus added that “the two-state proposal is opposed by the majority of the ministers of the Israeli government, most of the ruling government coalition and most importantly by the broad spectrum of the citizens of Israel.”

Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz said on Monday: “The State of Israel does not support the establishment of a terrorist state in the heart of the country.”

Land of Israel Caucus co-chairs Likud MK Yoav Kisch and Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich told AIPAC: “Harsh lessons of the past regarding land concessions have demonstrated that creating the groundwork for a terrorist, fundamentalist, Muslim state in the heart of the Land of Israel is dangerous and lethal to the security of Israel.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely reiterated to Army Radio that she is firmly opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state.

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