Jewish Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives hit back on Friday over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments that seemed to rule out the creation of a future Palestinian state.
“We strongly disagree with the prime minister,” 15 members of Congress said in a brief statement. “A two-state solution is the path forward.”
Signatories included Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)
Netanyahu has faced criticism in Congress and from the Biden administration after he said in a televised address on Thursday that “Israel must have security control over all the territory west of the Jordan,” as the New York Times translated it.
Some media outlets and activist groups also promoted an incorrect live translation of the same statement made by an Israeli news channel that Netanyahu had said Israel had to control all territory “from the river to the sea.”
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), one of the signatories of Friday’s statement who is widely regarded as one of the most vocally pro-Israel Democrats in Congress, was even more forcefully critical of Netanyahu in his comments.
“First Netanyahu fails Israel by basing a highly inadequate portion of the IDF near Gaza in the months before Oct. 7. Then he ignores the warnings of Oct. 6. Then this,” Sherman wrote, linking to a news article about Netanyahu telling the Biden administration that he opposed the creation of a Palestinian state after the war.
Non-Jewish supporters of Israel on Capitol Hill have also voiced support for a two-state solution in the wake of Netanyahu’s comments.
“I am under no illusion that a two-state solution will happen in the immediate future but to assert that it should never happen—that either Jews or Palestinians should never have self-determination—is morally wrong,” wrote Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.)
The Biden administration also reiterated its disagreement on Thursday with Netanyahu over a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“This is not a new comment by Prime Minister Netanyahu. We obviously see it differently,” said John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council of the White House, said during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One, en route to Morrisville, N.C.
“We believe that the Palestinians have every right to live in an independent state with peace and security. And the president and his team is going to continue to work on that,” he said.