The Australian Jewish Democratic Society together with other Jewish Australians who care greatly for both the future of Israel and the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians we strongly endorse the views recently expressed by the US President in Cairo. His words represent a sea change in approach to a conflict that has festered for so long that many of us have despaired of the possibility of finding a path to a resolution. His words articulate both the main elements of the conflict as understood by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society and a way forward to hope:
“The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.”
“Hamas must put an end to violence, recognise past agreements, and recognise Israel’s right to exist.”
“So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”
“…the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.”
“Palestinians must abandon violence.”
“Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society.”
These are bold words that must lead to bold action. An opportunity has arisen unlike any other in the last 15 years. We call on the rest of the Jewish community to accept and embrace a new path.
We call on the Australian government to use its good offices to encourage all the parties to the conflict to reject the failed policies that have prevailed till now and grasp the possibilities of a new beginning.