Middle East Peace Process

The prolonged stagnation in the peace process — a process that is vitally important to the peoples of the Middle East and to the United States — is of deep concern to the organized American Jewish community. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) believes that reinvigoration of direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is the key to moving the process forward. It therefore welcomes the continuing efforts of the Clinton Administration to achieve that end.

The current US initiative was launched last year at the request of the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Administration has proposed a comprehensive set of bridging ideas that address an agreed upon four-part agenda: security cooperation and the fight against terror, Israel’s further redeployments, a “time-out” on unilateral actions and accelerated permanent status negotiations. We believe the Administration has undertaken this task, the ultimate objective of which is to get Israel and the Palestinians to reengage directly, with diligence and in good faith.

We note with approval that President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright have stressed repeatedly that the United States would never seek to impose a settlement. Plainly, the Government of Israel has both the right and the duty to make the hard decisions that affect the security of Israel and its citizens.

We welcome recent statements by Administration officials confirming that the special US-Israel partnership is permanent and unshakable. As Secretary of State Albright asserted last month, the US “commitment to Israel’s security does not come with a time limit.” The JCPA remains hopeful that the parties will find a way to move the peace process forward, with the continuing active assistance of the United States.