J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement in reaction to reports of violence in and around Israel today:
J Street is deeply alarmed by the serious outbreaks of violence in and around Israel today. We call on Palestinian leaders and the Israeli government to work to minimize further violence and casualties, and to prevent further escalation. We urge governments and communal leaders in surrounding states to similarly avoid escalation. The violence comes at the start of an important week, during which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the United States, meet President Barack Obama, and deliver several speeches outlining his government’s thinking about the state of the political process with the Palestinians. President Obama too has scheduled an important address Thursday in which he may lay out his ideas for reviving the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process. This weekend’s violence only reinforces J Street’s concern that the absence of a credible diplomatic route to achieving a two-state solution sows the seeds of hopelessness that lead to conflict and violence. J Street’s goal is to promote the security and survival of the state of Israel and its future as a democracy and a Jewish homeland. We fear that the failure of either leader to lay out bold steps toward a two-state solution this week and then to follow through on them in the months ahead condemns Israel, the Palestinians and their neighbors to more dark days of violence and bloodshed and puts Israel’s future and security at risk. We reiterate our call on President Obama to step forward this week with a concrete set of ideas and parameters for breaking the present diplomatic impasse. While domestic political considerations may be preventing both leaders from stepping forward with bold proposals, we hope that the call of history will win out over the pull of politics and encourage them to offer the leadership and statesmanship so sorely needed right now before the situation spirals out of control in the weeks and months ahead.