Washington, DC - APN released the following statement by its President and CEO, Debra DeLee:
"We call on GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to repudiate his statements suggesting that peace is not possible and that therefore the U.S. should 'kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.'
Such statements suggest that Romney is misinformed, that he has no understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or that he has adopted the misguided, dangerous views of some of his hard-line, anti-peace, anti-two-state-solution backers in the U.S. and Israel. Such views are at odds not only with longstanding U.S. policy, supported by both Democratic and Republican administrations, but also with the official platform of the Republican Party.
"Let there be no confusion: this is not a partisan issue. This is about an issue of vital strategic importance for both the U.S. and Israel. In dismissing the possibility of achieving peace and expressing readiness to simply sit back and wait for the conflict to resolve itself, Romney has articulated a view that is fundamentally anti-Israel. 'Pro-Israel' means being committed to the achievement of peace for Israel, no matter how difficult it may be to achieve or how distant a solution may appear. Likewise, 'pro-Israel' means standing one-hundred percent behind the two-state solution, which is the only way forward that can achieve stability and security and preserve Israel as both a democracy and a Jewish state. The Israeli people, who yearn for peace and normal relations with the region and the world, deserve better than a U.S. presidential candidate declaring his readiness to abandon Israel to conflict for the foreseeable future.
"Peace based on a negotiated two-state solution is not only possible but its achievement is a vital interest of both the U.S. and Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict feeds instability in the region, fuels anti-American hatred, and more than Iran or any other factor, represents a genuine existential threat to the viability of Israel as a Jewish state and a democracy. Majorities of both Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution. The fact is: achieving peace remains, above all, a question of marshaling the political will not only of the parties but of the United States and the international community. This reality underscores the irresponsibility of Governor Romney's comments.
"Romney's assertions are wind in the sails of extremists who prefer zero-sum conflict and a one-state outcome, be that state Jewish or Arab, to a peaceful solution. His words, uttered by a man who in less than two months will stand in elections for the highest office in our nation, are music to the ears of anti-U.S. and anti-Israel extremists in the region and beyond.
"Romney's statements should outrage anyone who cares about Israel and U.S. interests in the Middle East - as should similar statements by political figures from either party. What is needed today from American leaders of both parties is vision, leadership, and commitment to achieve peace. What will be needed from the next U.S. president, regardless of party, is a commitment to redouble U.S. engagement and efforts to achieve the two-state solution, before the zero-sum advocates claim their own twisted victory and drag the entire region into even greater chaos."