We have said it before but we will say it again. If there ever was a time for peace – with justice – it is now.
We have said it before but we will say it again. If there ever was a time for peace – with justice – it is now. We simply cannot let this deadlock go on, for the sake of Palestinians, Israelis and all those who are being consumed by the fires of extremism, violence and injustice in our region. We ask all people of faith and courage to stand up and make their voices heard. We need to face the hard choices and issues in a democratic, civil way, through non-violence, dialogue and international law. We simply cannot let this new opportunity pass or sabotage it by needlessly provoking one another.
What we need right now is mutuality. We are all children of the same God, deserving of the same freedom, peace, dignity and rights. We need to mutually recognize one another and mutually renounce all kinds of violence (which also includes targeted assassinations, home demolitions and military incursions.) We also need mutual recognition of past agreements. During the Oslo process, violence and bombings grew as the number of illegal settlers doubled and movement restrictions on Palestinians became unbearable.
There is no simply alternative to dialogue and to the implementation of international and human rights law. Both sides must be equally accountable and forced to deal with whatever behaviours contradict international and human rights law.
Everyone knows most of what should be addressed in a final settlement, and previous talks that focused on these top issues led to progress if not firm resolution. We must proceed now to these tough issues, because these temporary negotiations that depend on meeting previous, vague conditions have only allowed us to sink deeper into the morass.
Peace will only be the fruit of justice, which means to us, and I would venture to say, most Palestinians:
A Palestinian state based on the 1949 Armistice Line (called the Green Line, marking the occupied territories after 1967), which means 22% of historic Palestine, with these provisions:
– A viable, contiguous state (control of borders, airspace, water resources);
– Jerusalem as its capital (shared Jerusalem);
– A just resolution of the refugee issue;
– A political resolution of the settlements and confiscated land;
– Shared major resources such as water;
– The release of political prisoners;
Now is the time to resolve this, so that the whole region can begin the recovery and healing process necessary for a lasting peace. The international community can continue to offer lofty, empty words about democracy and freedom while continuing to boycott the only democratically-elected Arab government in the Middle East and hold its children and families hostage to an unconscionable humanitarian crisis.
But know that the only winners from that will be the extremists. They will continue to garner support as long as negotiations, and now even democracy itself, only leads to humanitarian catastrophe, worsening human rights and further isolation.
No more conditions. No more talks of “temporary” solutions during which there is only more settlement building, more land confiscation and more despair. Now is the time to sit down and negotiate, equally, based on international and human rights law. Now is the time to learn to treat one another individually and as peoples – Israeli and Palestinian – as equal children of God, deserving of the same dignity, peace, freedom and abundant life.
We ask your help to urge your governments to make this happen.