I write this letter as a blessed cease fire is just going into effect, — not the first cease fire, and I don’t know
if this one will hold. But it may be, so we all hope, that the Gaza war is over. If not now, then very soon
negotiations for a lasting cease fire or even for something that might look like peace will begin. I have no sense
of how these negotiations will go, but all of us at Americans for Peace Now believe that this is an opportunity for
Israel to act boldly to strengthen the Palestine Authority (PA) and its new unity government and, with its help, to
prevent or strongly curtail the rearmament of Hamas and to open the way for reconstruction and economic development
in Gaza. But Gaza is not alone. There can’t be a legitimate PA in Gaza unless Israel is ready to work with the PA
in Ramallah for the two-state solution that we have been defending for so long. When you read this, you will know
whether Israel and Palestine have moved closer, or farther away, from this necessary goal.
Meanwhile, we have to think about what is happening inside Israel itself. Before the war began, we followed with
horror the news of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli boys and then of the murder of a Palestinian boy.
Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah, and Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir: in our hearts, these are all “our
boys,” who died deaths that no child should.