Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the Six-Day War, Israel's greatest military victory, a victory that ironically inflicted a political disaster upon the state of Israel.
After fifty years, the disastrous Pyrrhic repercussions of this military victory are intensifying as the occupation of the West Bank solidifies both on the ground and in the minds of many Israelis, Palestinians, and their leaders.
As the 50-year-old anomaly of the occupation turns in the minds of an overwhelming majority of Israelis and Palestinians into the only reality they know, governed by constant violence and no political horizon, many of them – if not most – are accepting the erroneous assertion of extremists on both sides that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unsolvable.
On this fiftieth year of the occupation, we at Americans for Peace Now are committing to redouble our efforts to demonstrate that the conflict absolutely can be resolved, that it must be resolved, and that reaching and implementing a negotiated political agreement to settle the conflict is a principal responsibility of Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and of international stakeholders, led by the United States.
Fifty years of ongoing occupation, compounded by several failed attempts to end it, are normalizing the anomaly. Now, alarmingly, extremist Israeli politicians, members of the ruling coalition, are using this travesty to try to legitimize the occupation and present it as a national security necessity. Palestinian extremists, conversely, are using the ongoing occupation to warrant their equivalent zero-sum ideology and to justify violence.
There is a solid constituency for peace on both sides of the Green Line, both among Israelis and Palestinians. And most Israeli national security experts, including a vast majority of former military generals and former Mossad and Shin-Bet chiefs, point out that a two-state solution is necessary for Israel's survival as a democracy and a Jewish state.
Fifty years into the perversion that the occupation is, we at APN are as determined as we've ever been to not let the extremists win, to bolster and embolden the constituency for peace – both among Israelis and among their brethren in the US – and to help bring about a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the only solution that would ensure Israel's future as a state that is both Jewish and a democracy.
APN is the sister organization of Shalom Achshav, Israel's preeminent peace movement. APN's mission is to educate and persuade the American public and its leadership to support and adopt policies that will lead to comprehensive, durable, Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace, based on a two-state solution, guaranteeing both peoples security, and consistent with U.S. national interests. We also work to ensure Israel's future and the viability of Israel's democracy and Jewish character through education, activism and advocacy in the United States, and by mobilizing American support for Shalom Achshav.