Israel Policy Forum (IPF) applauds both President Trump and President Abbas for their clearly stated intentions in today’s joint press conference to reach a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Only direct negotiations between the two parties in combination with American mediation and assistance will lead to a comprehensive permanent status agreement, and we are encouraged that Presidents Trump and Abbas along with Prime Minister Netanyahu have acknowledged this inescapable fact.

While we would be heartened to hear President Trump explicitly endorse the two-state solution as the only viable path forward, more important is to create progress toward that goal. The president’s efforts in meeting with and listening to both sides, and demonstrating a willingness to help them return to meaningful negotiations, represent a good set of initial steps. The two-state solution is the inevitable end result of such a process, and in this case we urge those who support two states to focus on what can be done to further this goal along.

In this spirit, we call upon all interested parties to examine and adopt the plan developed by the Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS) as a necessary precursor to any successful permanent status negotiations. Immediate steps are needed to improve Israel’s security, develop the Palestinian economy and the PA’s governance capabilities, and build trust between the two sides; short of such steps, we fear that another round of negotiations will end in failure like previous attempts to bridge the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians. Implementing the CIS proposals will provide a boost to both sides and lay the groundwork for the realization of the dream that millions of Israelis and Palestinians have of two independent states living in peace and security.