The United States has been unwavering in its commitment to Israel’s security. We and other leaders have worked together to address the myriad challenges Israel faces, including terrorism, incitement, de-legitimization efforts and regional instability.
Previous administrations have consistently enhanced this assistance and cooperation, including Barack Obama’s pledge of an additional $38 billion over 10 years, the largest security assistance package to any nation in U.S. history.
An integral component of the U.S.-Israel relationship is our shared commitment to negotiating a two-state solution, which would see the creation of an independent Palestine beside a democratic, Jewish Israel. This remains the only way to build a lasting peace and ensure Israel remains the democratic homeland of the Jewish people.
A two-state solution would resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, resulting in normal relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Achieving peace would help enhance cooperation, stability and security in the Middle East, which is in our own national security interests.
That is why previous administrations — Democratic and Republican alike — have engaged, with overwhelming bipartisan congressional support, in efforts to help facilitate such an outcome.
Yet a negotiated two-state solution seems further out of reach than ever before.
Since President Trump’s inauguration, Israel has announced that it would dramatically expand settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israeli politicians haveproclaimed an end to the goal of a Palestinian state, and are agitating for the outright annexation of major Israeli settlement blocks in the West Bank. Furthermore, President Trump’s nominee to be the ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has been a benefactor of Israeli settlement expansion and has demonstrated an openly hostile attitude to a two-state solution. These Israeli actions and Friedman’s views are not helpful to Israel, to the peace process, or to the national security of the United States.
Also standing in the way of peace is the incitement of violence and terror by Palestinians. Last year the world witnessed hundreds of indiscriminate attacks against ordinary Israelis. Terrorists used knives, guns and vehicles to kill, injure and maim random Israeli civilians. Even our own citizens were killed in these despicable terror attacks. As violence continues, it’s understandable why many would doubt whether peace is possible in the face of such hatred.
Yet, according to public opinion polls, the majority of Israelis and Palestinians continue to favor a two-state solution.
We strongly believe that without two states for two peoples, the violence we see today will only become worse. Without two states, true security for Israel will vanish, alongside the legitimate aspirations of ordinary Palestinians for a state of their own.
Perhaps most importantly, without an independent Palestine by its side, Israel cannot be both a democratic and majority Jewish state. Today, the Jewish people are already a minority between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. There are 6.3 million Jewish Israelis compared to 6.6 million non-Jewish minorities, most of them Palestinian Arabs.
Since the Jewish people are already a minority, a one-state solution cannot be both majority Jewish and democratic. We have not heard a plausible proposal where a one-state solution wouldn’t require a Jewish minority to govern a non-Jewish majority.
To avoid this outcome, we urge the Trump administration to prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to help create the conditions necessary for resuming direct talks between the two parties. That must include a halt to Israeli settlement construction and an end to Palestinian incitement of terror.
We recognize only the parties themselves can ultimately negotiate an end to their conflict. Yet, the United States must continue to play a constructive role, rather than turning a blind eye to actions by either party that undermine the prospects for peace.