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Conservative rabbinical students sign letter opposing Trump peace plan and West Bank annexation

(JTA) — Thirty-six Conservative Jewish rabbinical students signed a letter opposing President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, as well as Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

“Trump’s plan would leave Palestinians with a handful of discontiguous territories surrounded by settlements, and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s would make permanent the status quo in which millions of Palestinians live under Israeli military control without civil rights,” reads the open letter, which was published on the left-wing Jewish site Jewschool. “Trump’s irresponsible vision and Netanyahu’s objective of annexation will move the region closer to catastrophe and even further from peace.”

All but four of the signers attend the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, the Conservative movement’s flagship school, representing about half of the rabbinical school’s student body of 60 to 70, according to organizers. Three others attend the movement’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, and one is a JTS cantorial student.

The Conservative movement’s leading institutions support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Trump’s peace plan, released at a ceremony with Netanyahu in January, calls for Israel to annex large portions of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements. The remaining territory would be carved into a Palestinian state, though the plan calls for Israel retaining security control over the entire area.

Both Netanyahu and his chief political rival Benny Gantz have praised the plan. Netanyahu has expressed his intention to begin annexing parts of the West Bank.