New J Street Policy Urges Obama to Adopt "Borders and Security First" Strategy

November 23, 2010

To address persistent stagnation in Israeli-Palestinians negotiations, J Street is putting forth a new policy proposal urging President Obama to adopt a bolder, more assertive strategy to resolve the conflict.

The pro-Israel, pro-peace movement is asking the administration not to pin its strategy on obtaining a 90-day extension of the partial settlement moratorium alone, but instead to focus on moving the parties towards a permanent agreement on borders and security.  Should the sides fail to reach such an agreement in a short, set period of time, J Street suggests that President Obama be prepared to put forward his own proposal and to create a clear moment of choice for both parties on central final status issues.

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami released a short statement summarizing the key points of J Street’s new platform:

Should the U.S. and Israel reach an agreement that could extend by 90 days the partial moratorium on West Bank settlement construction, we would certainly welcome the resumption of direct talks.

However, whether direct talks resume or not, we believe the time has come for American efforts to shift from a heavy focus on getting the parties to decide whether to keep talking – to one that puts fundamental choices squarely before the parties about whether and how to end the conflict.

Therefore, we believe that it is time for the Obama Administration to adopt a “borders and security first” strategy that focuses on delineating a permanent border between Israel and a future state of Palestine, based on 100 percent of the land beyond the 1967 Green Line with one-to-one land swaps, as well as finalizing the necessary security arrangements for a two-state agreement.  Such a strategy should be adopted with or without a 90-day extension of the limited moratorium on settlement construction.

Setting an agreed-upon border would both create positive momentum to address other final status issues and eliminate the issue of settlements as a barrier to continued negotiations, as Israel and the Palestinians would be able to build where they please within their established borders.

Time is running out on the possibility of a two-state solution. Israel, the Palestinians, and America cannot afford yet another impasse that will make achieving a resolution all the more difficult and jeopardize Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic home, the viability of a Palestinian state, and America’s own interests in the region.