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US Presidential Candidates Slam Trump ‘Vision for Peace, Warn against Annexation

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders used the strongest language of any of the candidates in his criticism of Trump’s plan, calling it “unacceptable,” since “any acceptable peace deal must be consistent with international law and multiple UN resolutions.” Sanders said any agreement “must end the Israeli occupation and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent state of their own alongside a secure Israel. Trump’s so-called peace deal doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict.” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said “Trump’s ‘peace plan’ is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state. Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form—and reverse any policy that supports it.” Former Vice President Joe Biden also characterized the Trump plan as “a political stunt that could spark unilateral moves to annex territory and set back peace even more.” Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg also lashed Trump for his handling of foreign affairs and censured the plan as “undermining a workable solution to the conflict.” The former Indiana mayor said “this president’s Mideast ‘Deal of the Century,’ like so much else he’s done in foreign policy, makes complex situations worse.” “Peace requires both parties at the table. Not a political green light to the leader of one for unilateral annexation,” Buttigieg added. Immediately after the Trump plan’s release on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to bring his plan to annex the Jordan Valley and all settlements in the West Bank, with US backing, to a vote during next week’s cabinet meeting. Like the other democratic candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg criticized the fact that Trump’s so-called peace plan was developed without any Palestinian “buy-in” and warned that “it is critical that neither side take any unilateral steps that could trigger instability and violence.” The Democratic candidates also said Trump’s plan is “one-sided” and has opened the door to unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank. “Such a development would disregard international law, engender stiff opposition from US allies,” the senators said. “It will also place allies like Jordan in an untenable position.” They warned that “the timing of Trump plan to coincide with Netanyahu’s indictment on bribery charges raises disturbing questions about an attempt by the Trump administration to interfere in the Israeli general elections on March 2. Netanyahu was formally indicted in three separate corruption cases on Tuesday, hours before the presentation of “the peace plan” at the White House.

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