Democratic presidential hopeful Julian Castro says he “would not take off the table the option of conditioning our aid on Israel not annexing the West Bank.” The San Antonio politician, a former cabinet member of the Obama administration, made the remark Monday at a J Street conference in Washington DC.
“I support doing everything we can to pressure Israel not to move forward with unilateral annexation or continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank,” Castro said, “and my hope is that there’s gonna be a new opportunity with a new American president in January of 2021, and a new administration shortly in Israel to get this relationship back on track and to work toward a two-state solution and stop any kind of effort to unilaterally annex the West Bank.
“I would not take off the table the option of conditioning our aid on Israel not annexing the West Bank, but that wouldn’t be my first focus,” he said.
“My first focus would be to try and use this moment, this opportunity we have, with a new administration here in 2021, and a new administration there, soon, to get it back on track.”
Castro was derisive in responding to a question about White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s efforts to design a Middle East peace plan.
“I wish this president were more serious,” he smirked, “and that he would send somebody over there that actually has a track record and experience of being able to help achieve stability and peace.”
With a chuckle he added, “The idea of Jared Kushner going over there and negotiating this peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians’ one of the thorniest, most complicated type of agreements that you can arrange – it flies in the face of what a president should do. It doesn’t seem serious. Obviously I’m hopeful for it but I’m not holding my breath.”
The abysmal track record of past American attempts by “serious” diplomats with major political experience and credentials who have tried to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority might give one pause, but Castro clearly believed he was knowledgeable in this area.