Americans for Peace Now released a statement from President and CEO Debra DeLee on its website approving of President Obama’s Middle East speech today. At the very end, DeLee called on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which is set to hold its annual conference next week, to support Obama’s agenda. The full text is below:
“Today, President Obama signaled to the world that he is still serious about Israeli-Palestinian peace and that he is a true friend of Israel. We welcome his clear statement that the U.S. position is that a permanent status peace agreement will be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed on land swaps, and that the outcome must be secure and recognized borders, with a sovereign, contiguous Palestinian state and robust security arrangements for Israel. We also welcome his statement that such an agreement must find a way to resolve the issues of Jerusalem and refugees that is just and fair and that respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians
“What derives from these positions is clear. Palestinian leaders must come to terms with the fact that a future agreement will involve adjustments to the 1967 lines to accommodate some settlements - and educate their people to understand why this is so. They must also accept the fact that a future state will be demilitarized and that arrangements ensuring Israeli security will be paramount.
“At the same time, the Netanyahu government must accept that Israel’s appetite for settlements must be balanced, inch for inch, against its readiness to give up territory that is inside what is now sovereign Israel. This applies not only in the West Bank but also in East Jerusalem, where Netanyahu’s defiant determination to continue to expand settlements continues to send a message that he cares more about settlements than peace. Moreover, President Obama’s clear statement that a Palestinian state must be contiguous and have recognized borders with Jordan underscores the impossibility of Israel maintaining permanent control over the Jordan Valley.
“We also welcome President Obama’s pragmatic articulation of his approach to Palestinian efforts to establish a unity government. It is indeed incumbent on the Palestinians to provide a credible answer to those who suggest that Israel cannot negotiate peace with a unity government. As we have long argued, any Palestinian government should be judged by its actions and positions, not it composition.
“By articulating these positions, President Obama demonstrated that he is a real friend to Israel - one who recognizes that Israel’s security and viability as a Jewish state and a democracy depends on peace. He has also made clear his understanding that Israel’s future cannot be divorced from the fate of the Palestinians or from its relations with the rest of the region. We welcome President Obama’s message of support for freedom, rights, security, and democracy in the Middle East - a Middle East that include both Israelis and Palestinians.
“We now call on President Obama to follow these words with concrete actions to make his vision of peace a reality. We also call on the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to rise to the challenge in the President’s words and demonstrate to each other and the world that they are ready to rise above pettiness, set aside grievances, and work to finally end the conflict. We know that most American Jews support President Obama in this effort. We call on leaders of AIPAC, who are hosting their major conference in Washington in a few days, to convey this support.”
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