Israel and Palestine
President Obama has a new guest column in the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, making an appeal for renewed peace negotiations with the Palestinians, as the region itself is spiraling into yet more conflict.
The column comes amid a new wave of violence, after the murder of three Jewish teenagers by what are believed to have been Palestinian assailants, followed by a separate murder of a Palestinian teen for which a group of Jewish extremists have been arrested. In addition, the Israeli military is engaged in airstrikes in Gaza against Hamas rocket-launching targets.
In the column, Obama restates the dedication of the United States to Israel's security. He then writes:
Peace is necessary because it's the only way to ensure a secure and democratic future for the Jewish state of Israel. While walls and missile defense systems can help protect against some threats, true safety will only come with a comprehensive negotiated settlement. Reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians would also help turn the tide of international sentiment and sideline violent extremists, further bolstering Israel's security.
Peace is also, undeniably, just. Just as the Israeli people have the right to live in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, the Palestinian people deserve the right to self-determination. Palestinian children have hopes and dreams for their future and deserve to live with the dignity that can only come with a state of their own. And, in President Abbas, Israel has a counterpart committed to a two-state solution and security cooperation with Israel.