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'Worst Betrayal': GOP Lawmakers Slam Biden Plan To Recognize Palestinian State

Rumored plan to create Palestinian state sets up fresh showdown between Biden and Republicans in Congress

(Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
January 31, 2024

Reports that the Biden administration is considering recognizing a Palestinian state—upending decades of U.S. policy—are generating intense criticism from Republican lawmakers who say the timing of these leaks marks a stunning betrayal of Israel as it fights to eradicate Hamas terrorists.

"As Joe Biden signals that the clock on his support for Israel is running out—a White House endorsement of a two-state solution would be the worst betrayal of our strongest ally in the Middle East, a reversal on decades-long U.S. policy, and a reward to Hamas terrorists who committed the most barbaric attacks against the Jewish community since the Holocaust," Rep. Tom Emmer (R., Minn.), the House majority whip, told the Washington Free Beacon, echoing comments from other GOP offices.

"I will personally use every ounce of leverage at my disposal to ensure the Biden administration does not go through with this absurd idea," Emmer told the Free Beacon, hinting at a looming showdown between the White House and pro-Israel leaders in Congress.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly asked U.S. diplomats to "conduct a review and present policy options on possible U.S. and international recognition of a Palestinian state," according to Axios. The policy shift threatens to upend decades of U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which successive American administrations have said needs to be settled between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. A unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, long thought impossible, is certain to complicate relations between the United States and Israel at a time when the Jewish state is fighting for its survival against the Iran-backed terror group Hamas.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the creation of a Palestinian state would implant "an enclave for global terrorism" in Israel’s backyard, setting the stage for future conflicts with Israel.

"A Palestinian state would not only be an enclave for global terrorism and an existential threat to Israel, it would legitimize the aims of the attack on October 7, effectively rewarding Hamas," Cotton told the Free Beacon. "It’s clear the Biden administration simply wants to appease the pro-Hamas wing of the Democratic Party. It’s shameful this is even a topic of discussion."

The Biden administration has been under pressure from the Democratic Party’s left wing to push for a ceasefire that would end the nearly four-month-long conflict. Anti-Israel lawmakers like Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) have also floated proposals to cut off U.S. arms sales to Israel and end military aid to the Jewish state.

Intra-party tensions over the ongoing war, as well as immense pressure from left-wing outside advocacy groups, are already threatening to erode liberal support for President Joe Biden as he winds up his 2024 reelection campaign.

The State Department, responding to reports, said there is currently no change in U.S. policy and declined to comment further when reached by the Free Beacon.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said during Wednesday’s press briefing that "there has been no policy shift in the administration," but that the United States is "actively pursuing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state" and examining a range of proposals to achieve that goal.

"I’m not going to comment on the internal work that we do to advance that objective but I would say there are any number of ways you could go about accomplishing that," Miller said. "We look at a wide range of options and discuss those with partners in the region."

The White House does not appear to be eyeing the unilateral creation of a Palestinian state, with a spokesman for the National Security Council telling the Free Beacon: "It has been long standing U.S. policy that any recognition of a Palestinian state must come through direct negotiations between the parties rather than through unilateral recognition at the [United Nations]. That policy has not changed."

The Axios report claims "the Biden administration is linking possible normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia to the creation of a pathway for the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of its post-war strategy." The Biden administration has been hinting for months, even before Hamas attacked Israel, that a peace deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be tied to concrete movement on a two-state solution.

Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the rumored plan would further destabilize the Middle East as Iran and its terrorist proxies mount increasingly deadly strikes against America, Israel, and other Western allies.

"Joe Biden enriched Iran and Hamas terrorists with sanctions relief which they used to murder a thousand innocent Israelis, and now he wants to reward those terrorists with diplomatic recognition," Banks told the Free Beacon. "He’s destabilizing the region. It’s dangerous for Israel and embarrassing for America."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the latest report indicates the Biden administration is trying "to appeal to the pro-Hamas progressives who control the Democrat Party."

"I can only assume that this is a deliberately misleading story designed to appeal to the pro-Hamas progressives who control the Democrat Party," Cruz told the Free Beacon. "That said, if Secretary Blinken and President Biden looked at the atrocities of October 7 and said, ‘You know what this means? We should declare there’s a Palestinian state,’ then they’re even more pathologically obsessed with undermining Israel than anyone suspected."