Israel Policy Forum enthusiastically welcomes the letter signed by 41 former Israeli senior security and defense officials and sent this morning to the four Members of Congress who led a letter of 191 members of the House of Representatives expressing their commitment to Israel’s security and deep concern over unilateral annexation of the West Bank.

The former Israeli officials’ expressed that they were “heartened to see the signatures of 191 members of the House of Representatives on this letter raising their voices in disapproval of unilateral annexation of West Bank territory and warning about its potential dangers.” They continued, “We thus consider your important letter an expression of true friendship for Israel and concern for our country’s security and wellbeing […] We commend you on building such a broad coalition of Members of Congress to join you in signing this letter. We consider it a further manifestation of the broad-based support for the kind of Israel we have fought for on the battlefield and continue to strive for.”

The signers, who comprise retired generals, former heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet (internal security), and generals of the Israel Defense Forces, have impeccable security credentials; their letter affirms the wisdom of U.S. policymakers opposing annexation, affirming the importance of robust U.S. security assistance, and committing to a viable two-state solution.

Many of the signers were among those that sent an August 27, 2019 letter to thank the sponsors or H. Res. 246 for their reiteration of support for a two-state agenda. In that letter the officials wrote that they look forward to future “congressional initiatives that explicitly identify annexation as a threat to Israel’s security, and Jewish and democratic future.” The letter sent today affirms that the Schakowsky-Deutch-Price-Schneider letter was just such an initiative.

The security officials signaled their clear support for the crucial role of the United States in ensuring Israel’s security, stating: “the strategic bond between our countries has long been an important factor in our overall national security and in our ability to deter, and when needed, defeat, those in our region who wish to do us harm. Any perceived erosion, however misconstrued, in these relations and in the ironclad U.S. commitment to the durability of security assistance risks undermining our deterrence.”

Furthermore, we applaud the letter’s closing:  “While we do our utmost to pursue these objectives at home, we look forward to future bipartisan initiatives in support of Israel’s security, including sustained security assistance, the pursuit of a viable two-state solution, and opposition to any unilateral action, like unilateral annexation, that threatens to undermine it.”

Israel Policy Forum welcomed the Schakowsky-Deutch-Price-Schnieder letter, and continues to engage American policymakers, including Members of Congress and their staff, on the potential dangers of unilateral annexation of West Bank territory.