Dear Senator Wyden,
In a recent letter to a constituent, you called for a “multi-state solution” as a way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. That this represented a change from your previous position in support of a two-state solution was acknowledged in a recent meeting with Lavanya Sridharan, one of your aides who has the foreign policy portfolio in your office. Sridharan and Claire Kaliban, a staff assistant, met with members of the Portland chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, Multnomah Friends Quaker Palestine/Israel Network (QPIN), Corvallis Citizens for Palestine, and the Portland State University chapter of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights. Sridharan told this group that you officially changed your position from a two-state to a multi-state solution in June 2021.
It’s notable that the language of a multi-state solution appears to have first been used in this country as early as 2014 by the right-wing foreign policy hawk John Bolton, who later became President Donald Trump’s national security advisor. In an op-ed for the Washington Times, Bolton’s multi-state solution called for the Gaza Strip to be absorbed by Egypt and for Palestinians in the West Bank to be absorbed by Jordan. There would be no Palestinian state, and Jerusalem would be recognized internationally as Israel’s capital.
Whether you agree with the Bolton solution or not is immaterial. Any suggestion of a multistate solution is one designed to deny agency to the Palestinians and to give recognition to other states that have no rightful claim to speak for Palestinians. It’s a continuation of Israel’s original sin that in 1948 denied the right of self-determination to the Palestinian people, who were promised this right under the original League of Nations mandate. The catastrophe or Nakba that followed led to the mass expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians, numerous massacres, and the destruction of nearly 450 Palestinian towns and villages—crimes against humanity that have never ceased since Israel became a state.
Whether Palestinians choose a two-state solution or a one-state solution with equal rights for all, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, is up to the Palestinians and to the Palestinians alone. Your failure to recognize this right is consistent with your failure to acknowledge that Israel from the very beginning imposed an apartheid regime on the Palestinians. This system of apartheid is now widely recognized and has become a mainstream view among human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the leading Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, and the United Nations Human Rights Council. Under international law, apartheid is recognized as a crime against humanity, while permanent military occupation and the acquisition of territory by force are recognized as war crimes.
We, the undersigned, as your constituents, call on you to reverse your position in support of a so-called multi-state solution, to openly recognize the injustices and apartheid crimes that Israel has inflicted on the Palestinian people, and to cease providing political, economic, or diplomatic support to Israel for as long as it remains an apartheid regime.