WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement in response to the Middle East “plan” released by the White House today.
“Since its founding in 1948, Israel and the United States have had a special bond between our people that has transcended any individual leaders or partisan politics. The strongest democracy in the region, Israel has been a stalwart security partner with the U.S., as well as an economic, social and cultural partner with Americans. A stable and peaceful Middle East has long been in the national security interest of the United States and, for generations, American leaders have worked to bring together Israel and the Palestinians for meaningful talks.
“Direct negotiations resulting in a two-state solution with neighbors living in peace and mutual security is the only way to end the intractable conflict between Israeli and Palestinians. The United States has repeatedly urged both sides to refrain from unilateral actions that could endanger a future agreement. Unfortunately, this long-awaited Trump plan, which was developed without consultation of both sides, may do the reverse of its stated goal and make it more difficult for the parties to return to direct negotiations. In addition, it hampers the ability of the United States to reclaim its role as an honest broker.
“The devil is in the details. The United States of America should be working with Israel and the Palestinians to develop a serious effort to bring together the parties so that they can work out the details of a plan that will lead to stability, peace and economic prosperity for all.”