They Say/We Say: "Let the Arabs accept Israel first."

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

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Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

Let the Arabs accept Israel first. Only then should anyone ask Israel to make peace.

We Say:

After years of conflict, former enemies are rarely full of warm feelings for each other at the outset. If we look to other conflicts around the globe - for example, in Ireland, South Africa, or Bosnia - we see that peace agreements and new political arrangements were first put in place, and that then, over time, public attitudes began to follow suit.

In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the implementation of a two-state solution will mean a reduction in friction and, over time, enmity. Without peace, we can expect violence to continue, feeding anti-Israel sentiment far beyond Israel's immediate neighborhood.

Absent a peace agreement, hatred and resentment are barriers to normalized relations between Israelis and Arabs. They are not, however, an impenetrable obstacle to negotiations and to peace agreements. Peace must be achieved despite these sentiments, rather than avoided because of them. And once there is peace, there will be the possibility of these sentiments changing on all sides.

No doubt many in the Arab world hate Israel, resent its occupation of what they believe are Arab lands, or even reject its existence. However, most Arabs have come to terms with Israel as a fact of life in the Middle East and would be ready to live in peace with it, once the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been resolved. The emergence of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative is evidence of this.