Wednesday, July 30, 2014

J Street: Ceasefire Now

In its defining statement, J Street asserts that it believes in "a two-state solution, resulting in a Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace and security"–and that "being pro-Israel doesn’t require supporting every policy of its government." That alone contrasts it with the older, hawkish AIPAC. J Street has just released a "Statement on the Gaza Conflict" calling for an immediate ceasefire, arrangements to avoid another round of violence in the near future and negotiations to reach a two-state solution:

• It is time for the fighting to end through a sustainable cease-fire agreement. J Street strongly supports Israel’s right to defend itself proportionately against the threat of relentless rockets and to destroy tunnels leading into Israel. We agree with Shimon Peres and other Israeli officials that the military objectives have largely been exhausted and it's now time for Israel to look for a way out of Gaza. Ultimately, there is no military victory over an ideology and no military solution to a fundamentally political conflict. We adamantly oppose calls for Israel to “reoccupy Gaza”.

• We support efforts by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry as well as the engagement of other countries such as Egypt to bring about an immediate cease-fire. Any such cease-fire must account for Israel’s security concerns, specifically from rockets and tunnels, as well as Palestinian humanitarian needs, and should be structured to lead to negotiations to establish arrangements related to security, political issues and humanitarian assistance. We support the inclusion of the Palestinian Authority in the cease-fire and in the negotiations around security, political arrangements and humanitarian assistance.

• We are deeply offended by attacks on and mischaracterizations of the Secretary’s efforts to resolve this crisis and his relationship to the state of Israel. We believe his pursuit of not only a cease-fire but a two-state solution represents the highest possible form of friendship to Israel and all the people of the region, and we salute and support the Secretary for his efforts.

• Every effort should be made to establish arrangements that minimize the chances that another round of violence erupts again in two years. A real solution for Gaza must (a) address Israel's legitimate security concerns from both rockets and tunnels, (b) establish a structure that brings the West Bank and Gaza together politically and allows Palestinian differences to be settled politically, and (c) address the serious humanitarian issues that face the civilian population in Gaza including greater freedom of movement for people and goods for non-military purposes. J Street supports those suggesting that cease-fire negotiations be used to advance prospects for a Palestinian unity government committed to early elections and demilitarization in Gaza. Allowing the previously-signed reconciliation agreement between Palestinian factions to move forward as part of the cease-fire deal might pave the way for a Palestinian government with a broad mandate and committed to a long-term cease-fire.

• The ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and the violence it spawns cannot be addressed without looking at the deeper issues that are at stake. This conflict didn’t start when the latest rockets began flying three weeks ago or with the terrible kidnapping and murder of three teenagers or Israel’s response to that incident. The roots of this conflict remain the tragic fight between two peoples over one land and the unresolved status of territory won by Israel in the 1967 war that has been occupied since and on which the Palestinian people will one day build their state. Failure to address and resolve these underlying issues through a two-state solution condemns both peoples to a never-ending spiral of violence that will only deepen as technology improves and hatred festers.

• We remain absolutely committed to achieving a comprehensive diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that results in two states for two peoples. A never-ending and deepening cycle of violence will do nothing to advance that cause. Only a two-state solution that resolves the underlying conflict will ensure Israel’s safety, security and legitimacy as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people and provide the Palestinian people with freedom, dignity and self-determination.


Michael J. Mand said...

The only possible disagreement I might havrefers to re-occupying Gaza. If a re-occupation is used to build new infrastructure and to rebuild existing infrastructure, I might agree. Certainly, Hamas has used non of its resources, albeit limited, to help its own people. It appears to me that it devotes all of its energy to remaining in power and it uses its hatred of Israel as its vehicle for achieving governmental immortality. Unfortunately Israeli response plays right into Hamas's hand and only serves to strengthen its hold.

So, if Israel can afford it - and I'm sure it's less expensive than war - it could re-occupy and rebuild.

A precursor to peace must include a way to end the blockade, of which Egypt is a part, and a discontinuing of the building of settlements in the West Bank.

Otherwise, this article states positions with which I agree.

Jeff Tone said...

A re-occupation of Gaza will not happen. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians want it. The latter will not agree to supposed "nation-building" by the Israelis. This idea will only cause more strife.