Israel

Netanyahu a major obstacle for peace, Israel must hold elections - Schumer

Author: Editors Desk Source: The Jerusalem Post
March 14, 2024 at 11:37
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) meets Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz (photo credit: REUTERS/Anna Rose Layden)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) meets Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz (photo credit: REUTERS/Anna Rose Layden)

Schumer identified Netanyahu as one of four main obstacles to achieving lasting peace in the Middle East.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for an election in Israel to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the US' most vocal opposition of the prime minister since October 7 during remarks Thursday from the Senate floor. 

Schumer attacked Netanyahu, linking his reign over the Israeli government as an obstacle to achieving peace.

Schumer identified Netanyahu as one of four main obstacles to achieving lasting peace in the region, the other obstacles being Hamas and their supporters, the radical right-wing government, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

"These are the four obstacles to peace. And if we fail to overcome them, then Israel and the West Bank and Gaza will be trapped in the same violent state of affairs they've experienced for the last 75 years," Schumer said. 

The US government should demand that Israel conduct itself with a future two-state solution in mind, Schumer said.  "We should not be forced into a position of unequivocally supporting the actions of an Israeli government that includes bigots who reject the idea of a Palestinian state. 

"I have known Prime Minister Netanyahu for a very long time. While we have vehemently disagreed on many occasions, I will always respect his extraordinary bravery for Israel on the battlefield as a younger man. I believe in his heart, he has his highest priority as is the security of Israel, Schumer said.  "However, I also believe Prime Minister Netanyahu has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel," Schumer said. 

A new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel at a time when so many Israelis have lost their confidence in the vision and direction of their government, Schumer said. 

"As a democracy. Israel has the right to choose its own leaders, and we should let the chips fall where they may. But the important thing is that Israelis are given a choice. There needs to be a fresh debate about the future of Israel after October 7," Schumer said. 
 

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Senate floor, March 14, 2024. (credit: PUBLIC DOMAIN)
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Senate floor, March 14, 2024. (credit: PUBLIC DOMAIN)


Global support for Israel will continue to get worse if the Israeli government continues moving toward a single state entirely under its control, Schumer said.

 

A demilitarized Palestinian state is only real solution, Schumer says

"As the highest ranking Jewish elected official in our government and as a staunch defender of Israel, I rise today to say unequivocally, this is a grave mistake for Israel, for Palestinians, for the region, and for the world," Schumer said. "The only real and sustainable solution to this decades old conflict is a negotiated two state solution, a demilitarized Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel in equal measures of peace, security, prosperity, dignity, and mutual recognition."
 


 


Both Jews and Palestinians have long, historic claims to this land, Schumer said, contrary to the "unfounded, absurd and offensive claims by some of the Jewish people are colonizers in their ancestral homes." But Palestinians have lived on the land for generations, Schumer said, and in past centuries, have formed their own culture, identity, cuisine, and literature. 

Schumer said the only solution to this predicament is one in which each person can flourish in their own state, side by side. However, for a two-state solution to work in the long term, it has to include real and meaningful compromises by both sides. 

"For example, too many Israelis who say they want a two-state solution don't acknowledge how the amount and extent of expanding settlements render that a virtual impossibility. And too many Palestinians who say they want a two-state solution don't acknowledge how their insistence on an unequivocal right of return is a fatal impediment," Schumer said. 

Hamas can not have any role in the future of Gaza if peace is to be achieved, Schumer said. Any proposal that leaves Hamas with meaningful power is unacceptable. 

Netanyahu allies Finance Minister Smotrich and Minister of National Security Gvir, and their inflammatory rhetoric calls for punitive restrictions on farmers in the West Bank during the olive harvest and prevents the transfer of funds to the PA. Schumer also criticized the right-wing leader's opposition to providing humanitarian assistance to Gaza. 

"There's a nastiness to what ministers Smotrich and Ben-Gvir believe, and how they use their positions of authority and influence an eagerness to inflame and provoke that is profoundly honest. Schumer said no true progress will be made to end settler violence in the West Bank as long as Smotrich and Ben-Gvir are in power. 

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