Israel Policy Forum (IPF) applauds Secretary of State John Kerry for his strong defense of the two-state solution and for the Obama Administration’s efforts in working toward this end.

The parameters laid out by Secretary Kerry – the 1967 lines with swaps to incorporate settlement blocs, two states for two peoples and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, an arrangement for Jerusalem that allows it to be the capital of Israel and a future Palestine, compensation for Palestinian refugees rather than their wholesale return to Israel, an end of conflict on all outstanding issues and claims, and Israeli satisfaction on security alongside the end of the occupation – are solidly within the two-state and pro-Israel consensus.

Indeed, the parameters laid out by Secretary Kerry have long been known to be the contours of any eventual negotiated permanent status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.  Secretary Kerry’s vision is a fair one that is in line with the Israeli consensus.

We further agree with Secretary Kerry’s characterization of the problems posed by West Bank settlements, particularly in areas that directly challenge the feasibility of a future contiguous Palestinian state. The Regulation Bill that would legalize illegal construction deep inside the West Bank is a more dramatic obstacle than any previous Israeli settlement activity.  Secretary Kerry is correct to point that out, and this ill-advised Israeli legislation undoubtedly was a major factor in the United States’ decision to abstain from UN Security Council Resolution 2334.

Finally, we strongly endorse Secretary Kerry’s message to the parties to take constructive actions that demonstrate a commitment to creating a two-state reality on the ground.  We encourage Israel and the Palestinians to heed this call.

As long as a majority of members of the Israeli government oppose a two-state solution and the Palestinian leadership remains divided and weak, with its future uncertain, simply calling on the parties to return to the negotiating table for final-status negotiations is not a credible strategy for advancing a two-state solution, as Secretary Kerry noted. Proactive initiatives outside of the contours of negotiations must be considered, such as the plans developed by Commanders for Israel’s Security that would improve Israelis’ daily safety while crystallizing a two-state reality.

Furthermore, we encourage the incoming Trump Administration to recognize that without the United States’ continued efforts to work with the parties to advance the goal of two states, Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state risks being placed in jeopardy, and the current moment of alignment between Israel and the Arab states could be squandered.

We stress the importance of these principles in defense of two states, and we urge those who care about Israel’s fate as a secure Jewish and democratic state not to dismiss Secretary Kerry’s message.

See our statement opposing UNSCR 2334.