A ceasefire in Gaza

November 21, 2012

Amidst hopes, both cautious and fervent that the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza will take hold, we join others in the pro-Israel community in breathing a sigh of relief. Our thoughts are with the Israeli and Palestinian civilians killed, injured and displaced this week, and with those who mourn for and with them.

We applaud the contributions of President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and the international community in brokering this ceasefire. US leadership is essential to resolving this conflict. The work, however, is far from done.

Even as we pray that this ceasefire holds strong, we recognize that without sustained diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict, it will likely provide only an intermission in the violence. The only viable long-term solution that protects Israel’s security, democracy and Jewish character is the two-state solution. It must be pursued vigorously by all friends of Israel, particularly the United States. As Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said today: “Ultimately every step must move us toward a comprehensive peace for all the people of the region. There is no substitute for a just and lasting peace.”

Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza pose a profound threat to Israel’s security. Their use of terror is deplorable and puts both Israeli and Palestinian lives at grave risk. Military operations alone have not succeeded in preventing Hamas from rearming. This week, we saw that their rockets are more numerous and powerful than they were four years ago. A broader diplomatic solution is necessary to bring long-term security to Israel and the Palestinians.

The most effective tool for defeating extremism is to empower moderate pragmatists by bolstering diplomacy and nonviolence. We must work with the official representative of the Palestinians, the PLO, to sign a final status agreement that secures the futures of both the Israeli and Palestinian people alike.