Browsing Posts tagged Two-state solution

Amid cautious hope and searing skepticism, Israelis and Palestinians launched direct talks last week to forge the true and lasting peace that has eluded our peoples for too long.

Israel looks forward to narrowing the differences on all “final status” issues that must be resolved for any peace agreement. Some of these core issues are well known: Israel’s security needs or the vexing question of Israel’s settlement communities in the West Bank, for instance. Still, as negotiations advance, we should remember that peace will require compromises and concessions — not only from the Israeli side, but from the Palestinians as well.

Jonathan Peled, Israel's Spokesman in Washington, DC

Of critical importance, yet often overshadowed, is the need for mutual recognition and a normalization of relations between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel is surrounded by 22 Arab countries with a total population of over 300 million. So far, only two of these nations have recognized and negotiated a peace agreement with Israel. As we move forward, Israelis cannot be expected to make painful sacrifices unless the Palestinians are willing to offer something beyond a temporary cessation of hostilities — something more than the unwilling, forced acceptance of Israel that all-too-often masquerades as “peace”. To secure a genuine peace, Palestinians must publicly acknowledge Israel as a permanent fixture in the region.

Vital, therefore, is the acceptance of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. Prime Minister Netanyahu has embraced the vision of two states for two peoples: speaking in Washington this week, he recognized the need for a Palestinian state that will serve as the homeland for the Palestinian people. In return, the Palestinians must recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. continue reading…

Peace is a vision that we all share, a vision of two states—Jewish and Palestinian living side-by-side free of the fear of violence and further territorial claims. But realizing that vision will require painful sacrifices. But while our arms are extended in peace  Israel is faced with another battle, namely  the escalating campaign to deny it legitimacy—to strip Israel of its right to defend itself, even its right to exist.

We are all familiar with the Goldstone report, the spurious charge-sheet compiled by a UN council that has condemned Israel more frequently than all other countries—Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Libya—combined; the report that found Israel guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity even before it began its deliberations; the tribunal whose so-called judges included one who claimed that Hamas had only fired “one or two rockets” into Israel and that the Jews dominated British foreign policy. continue reading…

Photo: GPO

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel for a series of meetings with top Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Two major issues on the agenda include Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and putting an end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there’s simply no space between the United States and Israel,” stated Biden. “There is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security and for that reason and many others addressing Iran’s nuclear program has been one of our Administration’s priorities. We’re determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and we’re working with many countries around the world to convince Tehran to meet its international obligations and cease and desist.  Iran must also curb its other destabilizing actions in the region, well beyond their desire to acquire nuclear weapons and that is their continued support for terrorist groups that threaten Israel and I might add our interest as well. President Obama and I strongly believe that the best long-term guarantee for Israel’s security is a comprehensive Middle East peace with the Palestinians, with the Syrians, with Lebanon, and leading eventually to full and normalized relationships with the entire Arab world. It’s overwhelming in the interest of Israel, but it’s also overwhelming interest to the Arab world and it’s in our interest as well.  The goal is obviously to resolve the final status issues to achieve a two-state solution with Israel and a Palestine living side by side in peace and security. A historic peace is going to require both parties to make some historically bold commitments. You have done it before and I’m confident for real peace you would do it again”.

During his visit to Israel, Biden commended the Israeli moratorium on new building in the West Bank, and stated that on the Palestinian end there is a real commitment to reach an agreement.

In the coming weeks, Israeli and Palestinian officials will resume proxy talks that will eventually reignite official dialogue between the two administrations: “I appreciate the Administration’s effort to advance peace in the region,” added Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I know that this has been difficult and has required a great deal of patience, but I’m pleased that these efforts are beginning to bear fruit and we have to be persistent and purposeful in making sure that we get to those direct negotiations that will enable us to resolve this conflict.

“I look forward to working with President Obama, and with you and your entire Administration to forge a historic peace agreement in which the permanence and legitimacy of the Jewish State of Israel is recognized by our Palestinian neighbors and in which Israel’s security is guaranteed for generations to come.”

Featured in the December 19th edition of the Albany Times Union, an editorial by Joel Lion explores the steps Israel is making to realize a two-state solution. Following the historic yet controversial settlement freeze, Lion looks at where the Israeli people are today, and how the Palestinians can meet them halfway to negotiate a peace.  Lion is Consul for Media Affairs and Spokesperson at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Check out his full piece in the Albany Times Union.

Photo provided by alvarezperea on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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