Rep. Zeldin Statement on Tomorrow's Meeting between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu | Congressman Lee Zeldin

Rep. Zeldin Statement on Tomorrow's Meeting between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

February 14, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, released the following statement today regarding the upcoming meeting taking place tomorrow between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Congressman Zeldin met yesterday with Vice President Mike Pence in the U.S. Capitol to discuss this important topic:

“There is no greater friend and reliable ally to the United States than Israel. It’s essential that we remain committed to building a stronger relationship with Israel, especially with the turmoil and unrest we see in the Middle East and around the world. Though the bond between our two countries will always remain strong, there is still so much room for growth in this relationship, especially under new American leadership. 

Improvements in policy should include moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and formally recognizing Jerusalem as the unquestionable capital of Israel. The United States should pledge to veto any future anti-Israel, anti-Jewish U.N. resolutions, like the Security Council resolution that passed at the end of this past December. Without doubt, the United States should stand shoulder to shoulder with innocent Israelis when they are targeted by Palestinian terrorists. We must hold the Palestinians accountable for inciting violence and financial rewarding terrorism, including the withholding of U.S. taxpayer funds to the Palestinians while this illicit activity continues. 

When it comes to protecting our interests at home and abroad, the United States must pursue a better and more consistent foreign policy: one that strengthens our relationships with our allies and treats our adversaries as our adversaries. The United States' position towards Iran should be repostured from a position of weakness to a position of strength in order to prevent this challenge from growing. We also must move in a better direction to try to help stabilize Syria. President Trump has already indicated a willingness to do so.

As for discussion on a two-state solution, a viable two state solution includes not only Israel's willingness to recognize the Palestinians' right to exist, but also the Palestinians recognizing Israel's right to exist. If an election was held today among the Palestinians, Hamas would win. More and more of the Palestinian leadership is being influenced by elements that will not rest until Israel is wiped off the map. I believe Israel is willing to negotiate away large swaths of land to achieve long term peace. Unfortunately, when I met with Prime Minister Hamdallah in Ramallah in 2015, he said in no uncertain terms that it is non-negotiable that they would ever recognize Israel as a Jewish state. I believe that President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu would prefer a two state solution and hopefully they will be candid about the present day viability of that pursuit.

Some other areas of common concern that must be addressed are the Iran Nuclear Deal, outreach to Muslim nations in the Middle East that share concern about Iran's bad activities, settlement activity, U.S.' continued financial support towards Israel's missile defense program and other important causes, possible bilateral trade negotiations, the rising BDS movement in the United States and globally, plans to work together to defeat terror, and lessons learned regarding energy development, technology, intelligence sharing, and advancements in homeland security capabilities.”