December 6, 2019 / 7:19 PM / a month ago

U.S. House passes resolution breaking with Trump on Israel policy

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol building is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 4, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution on Friday backing a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, following initiatives from President Donald Trump seen as heavily favoring the Jewish state.

The Democratic-led House voted 226 to 188, largely along party lines, for a non-binding resolution saying that only a two-state solution can both ensure Israel’s survival as a Jewish state and fulfill the Palestinians’ “legitimate aspirations” for their own state.

Since he became president in January 2017, the Republican Trump has been condemned by Palestinian and some Arab states’ leaders for reversing long-held U.S. policies to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, move the U.S. embassy to the city in 2018 and cut U.S. aid to Palestinians.

In March 2019, Trump recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967. And last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would no longer consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal.

Such measures, which help strengthen support for Trump from his conservative evangelical Christian political base, have fueled questions about whether his administration will abandon the idea of a “two-state solution,” with an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. [L2N27Z1LS]

The measure passed on Friday faced opposition from the left. Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, said she opposed separate states, instead favoring one state where Israelis and Palestinians would be equal.

The White House and Israel’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Palestinian Authority said it viewed the vote as a response to the Trump administration’s “erroneous policy” in a statement.

“This resolution is a clear message to the U.S. administration and Israel that peace comes only through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the fulfillment of the aspirations of the Palestinian people,” the statement said.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem; Editing by Tom Brown

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