As a longstanding member of the American Zionist movement and as an organization that traces its roots to the days of Israel’s creation, we regard the Palestinian application as a vital step forward towards a durable, just, comprehensive, negotiated two-state peace, which is the only way to secure Israel’s existence as a democratic, Jewish-majority state.
The recent violence between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza has underscored that any attempt to ignore the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and any effort to indefinitely maintain the status quo of ‘manageable Occupation’ and ‘low-intensity conflict’ – as Israel’s current government seems inclined – is dangerous folly that is certain to exact a growing price in suffering and death on both sides.
Two Palestinian groups are vying for dominance of the Palestinian national movement: The Islamist Hamas, which controls Gaza, condones the targeting of civilians, and does not accept Israel’s fundamental legitimacy. And the Fatah-led PLO, the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people, whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has endorsed the two-state solution, rejected violence and terrorism, rejected efforts to delegitimize Israel, and is preparing his people for the difficult, but necessary, concessions that a peace agreement will entail.
At this crucial juncture, it is the obligation of the international community, including Israel’s greatest ally, the United States of America, to make sure that the strategy of coexistence and moderation is rewarded, and that the Palestinian people are offered a horizon in which they are able to realize a viable, contiguous, independent state alongside Israel not through guns and bombs, but via the tools of statecraft and diplomacy.
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