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In warning to Benjamin Netanyahu, US House endorses two-state solution

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The US House of Representatives on Friday threw its weight behind a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, in a warning to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he mulls annexing the West Bank.

Passed largely along party lines, the House resolution also marked a shot across the bow to President Donald Trump, who has stood squarely behind Netanyahu.

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In its first-ever resolution on a West Bank annexation, the House said that a two-state solution “can both ensure the state of Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.”

The United States should “discourage steps by either side that would put a peaceful end to the conflict further out of reach,” the resolution said.

Such steps include “unilateral annexation of territory or efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework of negotiations with Israel,” it said.

Representative Eliot Engel, the Democrat who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, recalled his longtime support of Israel and how he backed Trump’s shift of the US embassy to the disputed holy city of Jerusalem.

But he said, in a choice turn of phrase, US security was being “trumped by decisions about our own political interests.”

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“Those of us that are strong supporters of Israel understand that Israel is best served by a two-state solution, that a two-state solution is good not only for Palestinians but also good for Jews,” Engel said on the House floor.

The two-state solution had enjoyed support from successive US presidents and, until recently, House resolutions on Israel saw little dissent.

Republicans accused the Democrats of improperly intervening in Israeli decision-making and ignoring what they call incitement by the Palestinians.

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“The resolution completely ignores the reason why the two-state solution has never gotten off the ground: Venomous voices among the Palestinians don’t want two states, they want one — a Palestinian state,” said Republican Representative Steve Chabot.

The resolution “gives the Palestinians a vote over Israel’s future. We shouldn’t let that happen,” he said.

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Netanyahu, who is clinging to power after two inconclusive elections and a criminal indictment, has vowed to annex much of the West Bank — a move that would doom prospects for a Palestinian state.

The Trump administration, whose evangelical Christian base staunchly backs Israel, has not condemned annexation and rallied behind Netanyahu.

In a step that could ease the way for annexation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that the United States no longer shared the widely held international position that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal.

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Wisconsin GOP slammed for making people choose between their health and their vote

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After Republicans nationally and in Wisconsin successfully sued in both state and federal court to block voters from being given extra time and options to cast votes in the middle of a pandemic, commenters on social media reacted with fury.

What just happened re: Wisconsin can seem a bit confusing. The TL;DR: The Supreme Court decided that Republicans winning elections is more important than keeping voters healthy & alive.

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ESPN reports the NBA is looking to rapid COVID-19 tests to resume professional basketball

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The NBA and the union representing players are working together on a possible solution to re-open professional basketball in America, ESPN reported Monday.

"In recent weeks, officials within the NBA and NBPA have been collaborating in assessing the viability of multiple blood-testing devices for the novel coronavirus that could provide accurate results within a matter of minutes, a process that would hopefully enable the league to track the virus in what's considered a critical first step toward resuming play in the near future," ESPN senior writer Baxter Holmes reported.

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Watch how the BBC reports on ‘the reality’ in the United States during COVID-19 crisis

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The British Broadcasting Corporation is reporting on the "frantic and on-the-edge" situation in an intensive care unit in New York City.

The BBC had footage from CBS News, which was allowed in the ICU.

"Though the administration says there's no shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the reality is otherwise," the BBC noted.

A front-line worker wearing a garbage bag "wished" she had the same PPE as the reporter.

"It's very, very difficult, it's like something out of 'The Twilight Zone,'" she said.

"And I don't think any of us going through it will ever be the same," she added.

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