APN: Ceasefire is a start; now time to make peace

Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) today issued the following statement:

APN welcomes the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that was implemented yesterday. We hope fervently that this ceasefire holds, sparing both Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip further terror and bloodshed. We know, however, that unless the underlying causes of this conflict are addressed, this ceasefire will be nothing more than a prelude to the next round of fighting and misery.

While ending the blockade on the Gaza Strip is a key step toward stabilizing the situation, simply establishing a new and improved status quo in the Gaza Strip must not be mistaken for a solution to the conflict. The end of this latest horrific round of fighting – with all the international focus and consternation it has sparked – must now be leveraged to open the way for real, credible peacemaking. As we have stated in the past, so we repeat today: such peacemaking requires U.S. leadership that is prepared to hold both parties accountable for their actions, as well as good-faith negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – however Palestinians choose to comprise it. The only viable way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to end the occupation that began in 1967 and replace it with two-states – Israel and Palestine, each living in agreed-on, recognized borders, with a single Palestinian government in charge of and responsible for the future state of Palestine, including in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, bolstered by robust security arrangements to prevent future conflict.

We also repeat our previous note of caution: It would be a colossal mistake for anyone to think that the “solution” today is simply for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to take on the role of Israel’s security-contractor in the Gaza Strip. Abbas’ PLO and Palestinian Authority have been and can be partners for peace with Israel, but only if there is a serious and willing partner on the Israeli side. However, with every bloody war, and, ironically, with every ceasefire agreement negotiated with other Palestinians –and with every peace process that yields only more humiliation and more settlements – the authority, legitimacy and credibility of the PLO and its leaders are further eroded.

Now is the time to return to the negotiating table, the inevitable tool to reach the only viable solution to the conflict, a two-state solution. In this context, we welcome news that the Obama Administration is working with other members of the United Nations Security Council on a resolution dealing with the challenges in the Gaza Strip and with the overall Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We reiterate our view that such a resolution should lay out in clear terms international expectations and plans going forward, both in terms of stabilizing/rebuilding the Gaza Strip and moving forward to end, once and for all, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such a resolution should include, in addition to a call for an enduring ceasefire:

 

  • A demand for a commitment by Israel and Egypt to end their respective blockades of the Gaza Strip, linked to a commitment by the United Nations to establish a credible international mechanism – in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority and Israel – to supervise goods going in and out of the Gaza Strip, with the explicit goal of preventing Hamas from rebuilding its military capabilities or building a new system of tunnels, while improving the lives of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip;
  • A framework for international plans to facilitate and finance reconstruction in the Gaza Strip;
  • A clear reiteration of support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the 1967 lines, and a clear rejection of actions by either party that undermine such an outcome; and
  • A strong statement of support for serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – however Palestinians choose to comprise it – that can lead to an end of the occupation and deliver two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side within recognized borders, bolstered by robust security arrangements to prevent future conflict.

 

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