January 24, 2024

Van Hollen Joins Schatz, Group of 49 Senators in Announcing Amendment to Reaffirm U.S. Support for a Two-State Solution

Amendment Reiterates Longstanding, Bipartisan Consensus on Need for Separate, Mutually-Recognized States for Israelis, Palestinians

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and a majority of the Senate Democratic Caucus in announcing plans to file an amendment to the forthcoming national security supplemental package that reiterates longstanding U.S. policy in support of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Senators Van Hollen and Schatz were joined by 47 senators, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.).

“The best hope for ensuring that there is light at the end of this very dark tunnel is the realization of a viable two-state solution where both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace, security, and dignity. The United States must be wholly committed to leading this effort, combined with the normalization of relations between all the Arab states and Israel, as the only path forward to durable stability and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and the Middle East,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The U.S. government has long supported a two-state solution as a path to a just and lasting peace in the region, and our amendment reaffirms our continued commitment to that vision,” said Senator Schatz. “The horrors of the war on and since October 7th have underscored the fundamental reality that in order for both Israelis and Palestinians to live in safety and with dignity, they need to have distinct, inalienable, and mutually-recognized states that coexist side-by-side in peace.”

“Peace in the region requires a two-state solution with Israel and a Palestinian state co-existing side-by-side with security, prosperity, and dignity,” said Leader Schumer. “The United States must continue to be a leader on the world stage to forge a path forward for a two-state solution as we strive for stability in the Middle East.”

“For decades I have advocated for a two-state solution and the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza makes the need for a negotiated compromise even more urgent,” said Senator Carper. “This is a critical moment for the U.S. to continue its leadership on the world stage and this amendment reiterates our commitment to enduring peace in the region.”

“We must be unequivocal: a two-state solution is the only path to achieving lasting peace so that Israelis and Palestinians can live alongside each other with the security and dignity they deserve,” said Senator Murray, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “As we continue working to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza and support for our allies, this amendment makes clear it is the policy of the United States to support a comprehensive, negotiated solution to the conflict that ensures a peaceful and secure two-state future. Rejecting the prospect of a Palestinian state denies Palestinians the rights, dignity, and self-determination they deserve and jeopardizes Israel’s own security.”

“Israel’s long-term security rests in a comprehensive, negotiated, two-state solution: a Palestinian state co-existing side by side with the state of Israel in equal measures of mutual recognition, security, prosperity, and dignity, ” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Cardin. “The United States has always stood by this policy, and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure a secure and prosperous future for Israelis and Palestinians.”

“A two-state solution is an essential condition to securing Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state at peace with its neighbors, while recognizing Palestinian aspirations for a state of their own. I’ve said that for years. The policies of the Netanyahu government, however, have only driven the region farther away from a peaceful, negotiated solution,” said Senator Wyden. “I am proud to cosponsor this amendment and send the message that the U.S. supports peace and stability among Israelis and Palestinians.”

“A two-state solution has long been the policy of the U.S. to enable Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security,” said Senator Hirono. “This resolution reaffirms our support for a two-state solution and the need to work toward a future in which Israel and a Palestinian state can peacefully co-exist.” 

“The conflict in the Middle East shows us there is only one way to break the cycle of hate and violence: two states for two peoples, with Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side as equals,” said Senator Merkley. “At a time when Israeli leaders are rejecting that goal, the United States must remain resolute in its commitment to ensuring Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state, and help fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

“A two-state solution is the only viable path towards long-term peace and security, dignity, and opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians alike. President Biden and Secretary Blinken have made it clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu and his extremist right-wing coalition that he must reverse his dangerous rhetoric and commit to the work of advancing a two-state solution that builds a just and stable future for all the region’s people,” said Senator Smith.

“The only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a two-state solution. The United States must be crystal clear in our commitment to preserving that path,” said Senator Murphy.

“Israel’s long-term security and regional stability depend on the creation of a Palestinian state. The United States remains deeply committed to securing an urgently needed, diplomatic solution that ends Hamas' military control over Gaza and creates a secure, democratic, Jewish state of Israel alongside a Palestinian state to achieve a lasting peace,” said Senator Welch.

“The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas that has caused so much suffering is a wakeup call on the need for a two-state solution that allows for a viable Palestinian state living in peace, side-by-side, with a secure Israel.  For years, I have warned that despite heroic attempts at such an agreement, spoilers on both sides have repeatedly undermined progress. Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders must finally commit to finding a two-state peace agreement. That is the only path forward to end the suffering and bring a future of hope to both the Israeli and Palestinian people,” said Senator Durbin.

“We need to do everything we can to work through diplomatic channels to reduce and cease hostilities and encourage a two-state solution. That means addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, prioritizing the protection of innocent lives, and bringing home the hostages seized by Hamas terrorists. A two-state solution would provide stability for Israelis, Palestinians, and the region as a whole,” said Senator Klobuchar.

“A negotiated two-state solution with Israel living side by side in peace and security with a Palestinian state remains the best option for lasting stability in the region and the right policy for America. This amendment underscores the critical role U.S. diplomacy must continue to play in the effort to ensure this secure, peaceful, and prosperous future that recognizes the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians,” said Senator Peters.

“A two-state solution, with Israel secure and at peace with a Palestinian state, remains the best chance to achieve lasting security and prosperity for Israelis, Palestinians, and the region. The Palestinians, like all people, have a right to self-determination and must have a voice in their future.  The United States should focus on diplomatic efforts and humanitarian assistance as important components of returning to a two-state solution,” said Senator Reed. 

“U.S. policy is longstanding and clear: the best and most viable path to long-term peace in the Middle East is a comprehensive, two-state solution that ensures the Palestinian people can fulfill their aspirations for a fully independent state and that Israel remains a secure, democratic, and Jewish state,” said Senator Warner.

“The ongoing Israel-Hamas war has made clear that peace and stability in the Middle East is more important than ever. A two-state solution remains the most realistic path towards that goal and is the best way to ensure Israel’s long term security. I’m proud to support this amendment and reiterate my support for a peaceful, secure, and democratic future for Israelis and Palestinians,” said Senator Coons.

“I firmly believe that the interests of the United States and Israel are best served by ensuring that Hamas is defeated once and for all,” said Senator Menendez. “However, as we look to a path forward after the war is eventually over, we must work to achieve a durable two-state solution that allows Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace, freedom, prosperity, and security.”

“A two-state solution is the only viable path to achieving long-term peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike and I'm proud to join my colleagues to support this effort to reaffirm that commitment,” said Senator Shaheen.

“The only way to achieve a real and lasting peace is through the pursuit of a two-state solution that affirms and protects Israel’s right to exist as a democratic Jewish state and ensures the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and a state of their own,” said Senator Booker. “The current Israel-Hamas war underscores why the United States must continue its work to broker and support a negotiated solution that results in two states, with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in mutual peace, security, dignity, and recognition.”

“A two-state solution is the only path to long-term peace that would ensure both the Israeli and Palestinian people can achieve self-determination and live in safety,” said Senator Baldwin. “I have long supported a two-state solution and am proud to reaffirm my commitment to that goal because it is more important than ever that we clearly lay out a vision that will bring lasting peace, stability, and security to the region.”

“The only solution to this conflict is two states for two people – and that has been the long held position of the United States. I won’t give up on peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis, which is why we must ensure that the Israeli government and all of our partners in the region work toward that end,” said Senator Warren.

“The international community has supported the rights of Israelis and Palestinians to have their own nations since 1948. It’s time to reaffirm that support and undertake the hard work with the Israeli and Palestinian people, along with other supportive nations, to make it a reality. Progress toward this goal has been stalled for too long. All must have hope for a future in the region where people can live in peace and dignity,” said Senator Kaine.

“The end to decades of conflict can only come ultimately with a solution that both ensures Israel’s security and a state for the Palestinian people,” said Senator Butler. “These two objectives can coexist, and any effort to delegitimize either side moves us away from a lasting peace. Our democratic and American values point us to what we already know to be true: every human being deserves to live in safety with freedom and dignity.”

“A two-state solution with a secure, Jewish State of Israel living side-by-side with a demilitarized Palestinian state is the best way forward,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m proud to support this provision to reaffirm that it is official U.S. policy to support a negotiated two-state solution.”

“A two state solution - which has been a long-standing, well-established goal for both Israel and the United States - is the only viable path to peace and stability in the region. A two state solution gives both Israel and the Palestinians the rights of dignity and self-determination that are essential to achieve peace and stability,” said Senator Blumenthal.

“It is more important than ever for the United States to work with Israelis, Palestinians, and like-minded partners to achieve a political solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The key to a sustainable and enduring peace is two states for two peoples. I welcome Senator Schatz’s amendment and am proud to co-sponsor it, and I will continue advocating for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict that ensures a secure State of Israel and establishes an independent and sovereign state for the Palestinian people,” said Senator Markey.

“A long term two-state solution remains crucial for Palestinians’ self-determination, to promote Israel’s stability in the region, and to secure a peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians. We must keep working toward an enduring resolution to the underlying and longstanding conflict. That resolution must include an independent state for the Palestinian people that is free from Hamas’ rule and co-exists in peace with Israel,” said Senator Heinrich.

“Following the horrific attacks in Israel on October 7, thousands of civilian lives have been lost and dozens of hostages are still being held by Hamas. It's clear that Hamas must be held responsible for their actions, but it also remains clear that the only way to possibly solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is with a two-state solution,” said Senator Luján. “I’m proud to cosponsor this amendment that reaffirms the U.S. commitment to a two-state solution that provides the Israeli and Palestinian people the security and dignity that they deserve.”

“As we continue to support Israel’s security and the safety of Palestinian civilians, this affirms the United States’ long-standing position that a two-state solution is the best way to ensure an enduring peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” said Senator Kelly.

“In the long-term we must all recommit to a two-state solution that will preserve lives, maintain peace, and allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live with peace, security, and dignity,” said Senator Reverend Warnock.

“For decades, the two-state solution has been a bedrock of U.S. Middle East policy, and we must remain committed to that vision,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This amendment makes clear that the U.S. will continue to pursue a two-state solution, which is the best and most realistic option to achieve long-term security in the region and a lasting peace for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.”

“A two-state solution is vital to long-term peace and stability in the region,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “A Palestinian state governed by Palestinians continues to be an essential part of the United States’ diplomatic efforts to support Israel’s security, eliminate Hamas terrorists, and protect innocent civilians.”

“It is in the interest of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans that Israel works with the United States and Arab partners to help create a genuine pathway toward a two-state solution. I firmly believe that such a solution is necessary for a more peaceful and prosperous Middle East,” said Senator Bennet.

“True peace for Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved if security and self-determination are guaranteed for everyone in the region,” said Senator Padilla. “We must remain resolutely committed to a two-state solution.”

“Establishing a Palestinian nation-state alongside Israel is the only viable path to lasting peace,” said Senator Duckworth. “A two-state solution will help keep Israelis and Palestinians safe and secure in the future, and I’m proud to join Senator Schatz in introducing this amendment.  I remain committed to doing everything I can to bring about a de-escalation of tensions in the region that ultimately brings about a two-state future that strengthens the safety of Israel, eliminates the threat posed by Hamas, stops the mounting death toll and finally ends the prolonged and continuing suffering of Palestinians.”

The text of the amendment is available here.