December 12, 2016 — New York, New York
AJC, in a new statement on Israeli-Palestinian peace, reaffirms its longstanding support for a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict.
“AJC has long recognized that the alternative of a one-state reality is simply untenable and, therefore, a non-starter – an abrogation of the Zionist ideal of a Jewish and democratic state,” states the policy statement adopted at the AJC Board of Governors December meeting. “AJC continues to believe that a two-state solution is the only realistic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as established through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties themselves." The full AJC Board of Governors statement can be found here.
Palestinian attitudes toward Israel constitute the main obstacle to peace. “The core issue remains the rejection by Palestinian leaders and their supporters of the Jewish people’s right to sovereignty in its ancient homeland,” states AJC, pointing out the tragic history of Palestinian rejection, from turning down the 1947 UN Partition Plan to dismissing “all the subsequent genuine efforts to achieve peace by Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum.”
AJC calls on Palestinian leaders to “return to the bargaining table without preconditions,” and “act affirmatively and consistently to prevent and condemn violence.”
While acknowledging “current conditions do not provide grounds for optimism about substantial progress in the near term,” AJC nonetheless “strongly encourages policymakers and advocates to make every effort to explore opportunities to ease tensions, build trust, and move forward toward a two-state future.” As an example, the organization calls for “intensified Israeli-Palestinian economic engagement” to improve conditions for peacemaking.
AJC “strongly rejects the contention that settlements are the core issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the statement asserts. But AJC also has long maintained that “Israeli settlement expansion is inconsistent with the aim of a two-state accord,” and, in particular, that construction and reclassification of outposts beyond the security barrier “are not conducive to advancing prospects for peace.”
AJC recommends concrete actions to advance peace.
First, to create the environment for successful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, AJC urges the Palestinian leadership to “cease its diplomatic end-runs in multinational bodies to avoid face-to-face talks,” and “end the culture of incitement, negation, and the idealization of violence that has long infected Arab attitudes toward Israel.”
Second, AJC urges the international community, especially Arab nations, to encourage “Palestinian leaders to voice an unambiguous commitment to reconciliation and a political resolution of the conflict.”
Third, noting that increased contacts between Israel and some Arab states “may offer the best pathway to a peace deal,” AJC urges them “to undertake further tangible confidence-building measures, which could materially strengthen Palestinian advocates of reconciliation and weaken Hamas and other rejectionists.”
Fourth, acknowledging the potential security risks that realizing the two-state vision would pose to Israel, AJC calls on the international community to:
- Focus now in a sustained fashion on the day after the agreement to reduce the danger of a failed Palestinian state, which would further destabilize and endanger a region with several other failed and failing states.
- Condemn incitement by the Palestinian leadership; and
- Stand up to those who delegitimize Israel by denying the Jewish people’s historic ties to the land, and, specifically, to Jerusalem.
Fifth, the statement affirms that close U.S.-Israel cooperation, “based on shared democratic values and common security concerns, remains essential.” It pledges AJC’s continued advocacy of “the longstanding bipartisan commitment of the United States to Israel’s security and well-being…and to the quest for a durable, viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
AJC continues to emphasize that Israel is a willing partner for those who seek genuine peace. Moreover, AJC notes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recognition that the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 “includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations,” and the Israeli leader has repeatedly said that there is no realistic alternative to a two-state accord.