Seven of the eight members of Maryland’s delegation to the House of Representatives affixed their signatures to a letter to Mahmoud Abbas, calling on the Palestinian Authority president to end incitement to violence.
The letter spearheaded by Reps. Edward Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) warned Abbas that the “escalating violence — including stabbings, shootings and other terrorist acts — will undermine the prospects of a two-state solution.”
“There have been some efforts to curb the violence and protect the peace,” the letter continued. “But statements made by you, other political figures, clerics and official PA media have undoubtedly served to inflame the current situation.”
A majority of the House, 369 legislators out of 435, including representatives from Virginia and Washington, D.C.’s non-voting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, signed the letter which was sent earlier this month.
Maryland Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer, John Delaney, Chris Van Hollen, John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger and Elijah Cummings and Republican Rep. Andy Harris all signed, but noticeably absent was Rep. Donna Edwards, a Democrat who represents Maryland’s 4th Congressional District.
Edwards is in a heated race with Van Hollen to replace retiring Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
The congresswoman was repeatedly offered the opportunity by Washington Jewish Week to explain why she did not sign the letter. A spokesperson for Edwards would not answer the question on the record and instead offered the following statement, in full:
“I condemn the violence affecting the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, and urge both sides to return to the negotiating table to seek peace. It is critical that we ensure the State of Israel as a secure Jewish democratic state by making a two-state solution a reality, with the recognition of an independent Palestinian state that respects and recognizes the State of Israel.”