They Say, We Say: "There is no linkage between Israeli-Palestinian peace and U.S. national security. "

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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Why should the U.S. care about Israeli-Palestinian peace?

They Say:

There is no linkage between Israeli-Palestinian peace and U.S. national security. This is a local issue that is up to the parties to resolve. Anyone who suggests such a link is naive and apparently thinks that all problems in the world are because of Israel, and all problems will be solved if there is peace.

We Say:

Clearly, the Israeli-Palestinian and the Arab-Israeli conflicts are not the source of all problems in the region or in the world. However, the linkages between the conflict and U.S. national security are undeniable. Sustained, credible U.S. efforts to achieve Israeli-Arab peace are a necessary element of U.S. support for Israel and must be a cornerstone of any serious U.S. approach to confronting the challenges emanating from this volatile region. The simple fact is this: the U.S. can - and perhaps at times should - want peace more than the parties, given all that the U.S. has at stake.

Today it is undeniable that achieving Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace is key to U.S. national security and must be a central U.S. strategic priority. There is an undeniable connection between these festering conflicts and developments in other countries in the region and beyond. These include the growing strength of extremist, militant groups ready and willing to use terror against their own governments, the U.S., and Israel. In much of the Arab and Muslim worlds, perceptions of the U.S. are shaped by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for both good and bad. When the U.S. is seen as credibly leading for peace, support for the U.S. increases; when the U.S. is seen as not being an honest broker, while the situation languishes or deteriorates, anger at the U.S. rises. This has clear implications for U.S. engagement in the region and beyond.

Likewise, U.S. failure to credibly lead Middle East peace efforts has global implications, with U.S. allies and adversaries alike watching and judging U.S. credibility and relevance in the foreign policy arena based on America's performance in the Middle East. It is not an exaggeration to say that the credibility of American foreign policy as a whole is at stake in the Middle East. "The world is watching and drawing conclusions from our foreign policy failure in the Israeli-Arab arena. These conclusions - whether drawn in Tehran or Pyongyang, when negotiating over their nuclear programs, or in Moscow, when negotiating over arms control, or even Paris and London when considering NATO interests - have very real and damaging consequences for U.S. national security.