J Street believes that only a negotiated resolution agreed to by Israelis and Palestinians can meet the legitimate needs and national aspirations of both peoples. Given the reality that both peoples neither will nor should abandon the projects of building sovereign, national homes in their historic homeland, such a resolution will necessarily require two viable states – one Israeli and one Palestinian – living side-by-side in peace and security.
The contours of a workable negotiated outcome that would be broadly supported by both peoples are well known. Various initiatives by the parties and others have spelled out the principles and even many of the the details of such a resolution, including President Clinton’s parameters in 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert’s proposal in 2008, the offer by Arab states and the Palestinians in 2013 to adjust and negotiate based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, and the official US principles put forward by Secretary of State Kerry under President Obama in 2016.
What is missing – and is further eroding as the conflict deepens – is the political will among the parties to take the steps necessary to meaningfully compromise and conclude a peace agreement. While pluralities of both peoples would support a resolution resulting in two states, Israel’s current government does not support such an outcome and taking steps to undermine it, while the Palestinian leadership may be unwilling or unable to make further concessions as it struggles to maintain power and legitimacy among a deeply fractured and disillusioned polity.
This impasse won’t be overcome by pushing the parties to immediately engage bilaterally at an empty table. A viable framework for moving toward a comprehensive negotiated resolution will first require careful international, regional and bilateral coordination by the United States and others with the parties toward terms of reference. It will also require a package of incentives and enhanced civil society cooperation that create an environment conducive to genuine progress on the final status issues.
J Street’s policy positions on the individual final status issues – and how they can be resolved as part of a conflict-ending agreement – can be found here: