One Sanders appointee. One Clinton appointee. One common vision for the Democratic platform on Israel and Palestine.

Representatives Keith Ellison and Luis V. Gutierrez
on June 23, 2016

Let us introduce ourselves. We’re both Members of Congress. We’re both supporters of the two-state solution. We both just returned from trips to Israel and Palestine. And both of us were recently chosen to serve on the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform drafting committee.

One of us was named by Secretary Hillary Clinton. The other, by Senator Bernie Sanders.

Some have speculated about divisions within our party over the future of American foreign policy in the Middle East. The truth is that when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we’re on the exact same page. We agree on the core principles that will shape our party’s vision.
to Israel and Palestine, we met with government officials, peace activists and people going about their day-to-day lives. We witnessed firsthand the challenges and hardships facing people on both sides.

Israelis today live in fear of acts of terror that can turn peaceful marketplaces and neighborhoods into scenes of violence and horror. Palestinians struggle under an unjust occupation that deprives them of the rights, opportunities and independence that they deserve. That is the reality of a conflict that has gone on for far too long and at a terrible cost.

It’s clear how this conflict must end. Israelis must be able to live securely, free from terror. Palestinians must be able to govern themselves in their own state, free from checkpoints, curfews and housing demolitions. The futures of both peoples are inextricably linked, and that future depends on the two-state solution.

This view is not controversial. And we’re certainly not the only ones who feel this way. These are the consensus goals and principles shared by the vast majority of Democrats of every race, ethnicity and faith.

Our party knows that diplomacy works — and that when the US works with our partners to lead the way, we can help bring about changes that can transform millions of lives and make our world safer.

In Congress, both of us have emphasized our strong support for American leadership to help bring Israelis and Palestinians together and frame the path forward to peace. Presidents from both parties have played that role in the past, bridging gaps and building confidence to help transcend the mistrust built up after decades of conflict. Our country has a vital role to play.

So as we and our colleagues work over the next few weeks to frame our party’s platform, we’re confident that we can seize this moment and confirm the consensus vision of peace, security and human dignity shared by our party and its supporters.

Both of us have come to admire and respect so many Israelis and Palestinians; friends and partners trapped in a difficult reality that they are desperate to break out of. We hope to travel to the region soon — and to one day visit neighboring states of Israel and Palestine. An Israel and Palestine where nobody lives in fear, and where both peoples are focused not on conflict and destruction, but on the challenges of developing flourishing and inclusive democratic societies.

We know that we share this dream with millions of Israelis and Palestinians. And we know we share it with millions of Americans as well. This future won’t come easily — but it is possible. And it is necessary.

Working together, we can do our part to help make it a reality.