J Street Welcomes Gaza Cease-Fire

August 5th, 2014

J Street welcomes the 72-hour cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and strongly urges all parties to observe it scrupulously and extend it into a durable cessation of hostilities. The ceasefire is clearly fragile and all parties must exercise restraint so that it can take hold.

We thank the government of Egypt, US Secretary of State John Kerry and others who helped negotiate a halt to the fighting which has taken such a massive and tragic toll in human life and caused such suffering, especially to the civilian population of Gaza.

We urge all parties to commit themselves to a forging a durable agreement that addresses the underlying issues at the heart of the conflict. The elements of such an agreement should include arrangements related to security, political issues and humanitarian assistance.

Every effort should be made to minimize the chances that another round of violence erupts again within a few months or years. A more durable solution for Gaza must address Israel's legitimate security concerns from both rockets and tunnels and the serious humanitarian issues that face the civilian population in Gaza including freedom of movement for people and goods for non-military purposes.

We believe the Palestinian Authority must be centrally involved in building a political process that will help create long-term solutions to this conflict, which will include improving the lives and prospects of the civilian population of Gaza and bringing security to Israelis. This will entail establishing a framework that brings the West Bank and Gaza together politically and allows Palestinian differences to be settled peacefully, with international recognition and support.

This horrible conflict has proved once again there is no military solution to this problem and the only way forward lies in negotiations to establish a two-state solution that will bring security to the region, an end to occupation, and dignity and self-determination to both Palestinians and Israelis.