J Street welcomes the Council of the European Union’s conclusions on the Middle East peace process issued earlier today, underscoring the urgent need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts peacefully and diplomatically through two states and a regional peace. The resolution serves as a thoughtful, thorough and on-point assessment of what must happen to move toward this goal, and we urge the Obama administration to consider whether it can provide a basis for forging broad, international consensus around next steps forward toward a comprehensive, regional peace. In particular, the resolution highlights the broad international support for strong American leadership to resume talks on critical final status issues, including borders based on the pre-1967 lines with reciprocal land swaps agreed upon by the parties. With tensions flaring in Jerusalem, J Street joins the EU in expressing our deep concern over provocative, unilateral actions that create damaging new facts on the ground and hinder the chances of achieving a two-state solution and securing Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic homeland. J Street continues to call for stronger American engagement to stop home demolitions, evictions, and other such provocative actions in Jerusalem. We underscore our belief that a final status two-state framework will allow for the international recognition of Israel’s capital in Jerusalem, with the capital of the future Palestinian state in East Jerusalem. The situation in Gaza also continues to undermine the prospects for peace, with an ever-deteriorating humanitarian situation and an Israeli soldier still held in captivity after three and a half years. We join the EU in its call on Hamas to immediately release Gilad Shalit, as well as its call on Israel to open the border crossings. J Street reiterates its call on all parties – Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arab states – to take the necessary steps to urgently achieve two states for two peoples – a Jewish, democratic Israel and a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian state – and a regional comprehensive peace. The EU continues to serve as a critical partner to the United States as it works to achieve these goals and bring true peace and security to the region.