As a co-chair of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of J Street that includes close to 800 American Rabbis from across the religious streams, I fully support the call by J Street (see below) to support Secretary Kerry’s peace mission and for the United States to take the next step by putting forth specific principles on which Israel and the Palestinians will negotiate.
The only way forward to insure the health, security and sustainability of the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and a vital democracy is in a two-state solution.
The time is now to continue what Secretary Kerry began with Israel’s leaders and the leaders of the Palestinian Authority.
Achieving an agreement will take substantial courage, will, vision, leadership, and statesmanship for both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and they will need to resist those extreme elements in their respective societies who oppose peace and compromise.
Here is J Street’s statement:
J Street, the pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy organization, commends Secretary of State John Kerry for his tireless efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
With those efforts at a critical juncture, J Street urges the Administration to remain steadfast in its active leadership of the effort to reach a two-state resolution to the conflict.
As the Administration weighs its next steps, J Street calls on the Secretary to put forward publicly an American framework for a two-state solution, which we believe should reflect the principles outlined below, and to ask both parties to continue talks on that basis.
We believe that fairly and impartially stating the US view on resolving the core issues of the conflict could be an important step to keep the prospects of reaching an agreement alive.
We know from polling that the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians would support an agreement based on the principles outlined below. International support could be rallied behind such a statement of principles, and it would have the support of a majority of Americans and American Jews in particular.
Taking such a step might also encourage the politicians on both sides not to allow yet another historic opportunity to slip away.
President Obama himself declared in his speech in Jerusalem in 2013 that political leaders only take risks when pushed by their people to do so. And Secretary Kerry has called on Israelis, Palestinians and Americans to join a “great constituency for peace.”
Now is the time to inspire public support for this effort by putting forth a set of actual principles and specific requirements.
J Street recommends that an American statement of principles be based on the following elements:
- Borders based on pre-1967 lines with limited, agreed-upon land swaps of equivalent size and quality.
- Robust security provisions and guarantees from the parties, as well as international partners including the United States.
- Compensation to Israeli settlers who relocate to within the future border of Israel to make peace possible.
- Options for Palestinian refugees including settlement in the future state of Palestine or third countries, compensation and a symbolic level of family reunification in Israel itself.
- Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestinian neighborhoods as the capital of the future state of Palestine. Holy sites would be protected under international law and accessible to all.
- Recognition of the right of the Jewish people to statehood and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, without prejudice to the equal rights of the parties’ respective citizens.