Is there an Israeli partner for peace?
There are some skeptics of a two-state solution who believe that peace will never come because they claim there is no Israeli partner for peace. They say that Israel’s expansion and entrenchment of settlements contradict its stated support for a negotiated two-state agreement, by actively undermining the viability of a future Palestinian state.
What We Say:
There is no question that both Israelis and Palestinians have missed many opportunities to negotiate peace. But while the Israeli government has sometimes pursued policies that have made the achievement of two states more difficult, these policies are not supported by the majority of Israelis who continue to support a peaceful two-state resolution of the conflict.
Each of Israel’s past three prime ministers have stated their commitment to two states, as have the leaders of many of Israel’s major political parties. And during the 2013 Israeli election, the conventional wisdom that Israelis would embrace extreme far-right candidates in the absence of a viable peace process proved incorrect. In fact, voters elected more supporters of the two-state solution than had served in the previous Knesset.
Israelis and Palestinians must negotiate with each other. The longer they go without a peace agreement the more extremists will be strengthened at the expense of pro-peace moderates. Strong US engagement toward Israeli-Palestinian peace has the potential to reverse this trend and empower the pragmatic forces who can finally negotiate the lasting peace that both peoples so deeply desire.
For the Record:
Israeli President Shimon Peres:
“There is no alternative” to a two-state solution. Times of Israel, 12/30/2012
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
“I believe that a framework to peace is what I outlined in my speech in Bar-Ilan University – two states for two peoples: a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state.” Ynet, 2/11/2013.
“In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect, each with its own flag and national anthem.” ABC News, 6/14/2009
After President Peres formally tasked him with forming a new Israeli government in February 2013, Netanyahu pledged that the next “government will be bound to peace.” Haaretz, 2/2/2013
Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich:
“Our point of view is clear: two states for two nations according to the Clinton parameters, while safekeeping the settlement bloc’s future.” Times of Israel, 12/23/2012
HaTnuah leader Tzipi Livni:
The two-state solution is “the only way to continue the Zionist vision of a Jewish national home.” Jerusalem Post, 12/24/2012
Yesh Atid Leader Yair Lapid:
“Yesh Atid will not join a government that will not conduct diplomatic negotiations.” Haaretz, 10/30/2012
Facts and Figures:
Recent polls of Israelis have found that a clear majority supports a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with land swaps. Times of Israel, 12/31/2012
The new 19th Knesset is expected to have many more supporters of the two-state solution than the previous session. JTA, 1/23/2012
An Academy Award-nominated Israeli documentary, “The Gatekeepers,” featuring six former directors of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, revealed that the security veterans are deeply concerned about the price Israel will pay if it does not negotiate peace with the Palestinians. Haaretz, 1/7/2013
JJ Goldberg, editor at large for the Forward, explored support for a two-state solution within Yair Lapid’s successful Yesh Atid party. Open Zion, 1/25/2013
American-Israeli writer Emily Hauser chronicled where Israel’s security professionals have differed with Prime Minister Netanyahu in embracing negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Open Zion, 1/4/2013