November 1, 2011 – New York – AJC’s Board of Governors has urged Palestinian leaders to resume direct talks with Israel, stressing that their unilateral bid for statehood at the UN was counterproductive both to peace and to building a state.
The statement on the Middle East peace process, adopted at the Board’s quarterly meeting in Chicago, also reaffirmed AJC’s support for a negotiated two-state solution, with an “independent, democratic, non-militarized Palestinian state committed to peace and cooperation with the democratic and Jewish state of Israel.”
To advance the peace process, the Board welcomed the Middle East Quartet plans, announced on September 23, as well as President Obama’s remarks last May. AJC recognized Israel’s acceptance of the Quartet terms for resumed negotiations without preconditions.
AJC urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to cease his unilateral UN campaign for state recognition and follow the Quartet’s plan.
The AJC leadership expressed concern about the ongoing demonization of Israel across the Arab world. “Dimming the outlook for successful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations has been the culture of hatred, negation, and the encouragement and idealization of violence that has long dominated Arab attitudes toward Israel,” said the AJC Board. “To be true partners in peace, Palestinian officials, with the support of Arab leaders generally, must unite and lead their people on a pragmatic new course – facilitating cooperation and eschewing demonization.”
In addition to supporting efforts to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace, the AJC Board acknowledged that Israel’s quest for peace also “will depend to a significant degree on the outcome of dynamic and uncertain political processes now underway across the Arab world.”
Recognizing Israel’s obligation to defend its citizens against increased threats in the region, AJC noted in particular the U.S. and EU commitments to thwart the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions. “AJC continues to rely on U.S. and EU assurances that the Iranian nuclear threat is a strategic burden Israel will not shoulder alone,” the AJC Board said.
AJC applauded the longstanding U.S.-Israeli friendship, “based on shared democratic values and common security concerns,” and praised “the longstanding bipartisan commitment of the U.S. government, and the popular commitment of American society, to Israel’s security and well-being in a region vital to U.S. national interests and global stability.”
The full AJC Board Statement on the Middle East Peace Process is available at www.ajc.org.