Peace Now argues for two-state support at meeting with envoy Friedman

On its website, Americans for Peace Now has dedicated a page to what it calls “The Friedman File,” in which it documents all the steps Friedman has taken that it believes are harmful.

By MARCY OSTER
August 28, 2019 18:44
3 minute read.
Peace Now argues for two-state support at meeting with envoy Friedman

U.S. Ambassador in Israel David Melech Friedman . (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

The US must support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the Left-wing NGO Peace Now argued during an unusual meeting with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman this week.

“Unlike all the governments that preceded the current administration, including Republican governments, the current administration has refrained from declaring its commitment to the two-state vision and opposition to the settlement enterprise designed to prevent any chance of peace,” Peace Now said after the meeting.
It added that it had offered to bring Friedman on a tour of the West Bank in which he would see the “political and humanitarian ramifications of Israel’s settlement activities.”

In the past, Peace Now, which supports a two-state solution along the pre-1967 Green Line, has called for Friedman to be fired for his known support of West Bank settlements. On its website, Americans for Peace Now has dedicated a page to what it calls “The Friedman File,” in which it documents all the steps Friedman has taken that it believes are harmful.

“Based on his actions, statements, and our off-the-record conversations with informed insiders, David Friedman is the chief architect behind the Trump administration’s thinly concealed push to kill the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the group said in a statement. “The Friedman File is APN’s comprehensive record documenting the deeds of the settlements enthusiast-cum-ambassador since he assumed his post.”

This week, however, Peace Now was part of a coalition of Left-wing Israeli NGOs called the Two-State Coalition, which met with Friedman. The idea for the meeting was first put forward by the Geneva Initiative. Members of the Peace and Security Association were also present at the meeting.

In the conversation with Friedman, Peace Now’s executive director Shaqued Morag “made it clear to the Ambassador that as representatives of at least half of the Israeli public, which supports the two-state solution, we are disturbed by the US government’s actions taken so far in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and reiterated that unilateral moves are hurting the parties trust and may draw the region into a round of violence, for which the price will be paid by us and our neighbors on the ground.”

The one-state vision of those who believe in a great Israel would “spell an end to Israel’s democracy, would serve on the interest of a fringe minority and run afoul of the values America projects abroad,” Peace Now said.

It added that Trump’s policy regarding the West Bank settlements “casts a heavy shadow on the region’s long-term confidence in the US and its ability to act as a fair mediator between the parties.”

“We and many other organizations are most strongly opposed to any political plan that will ignore the Israeli interest — ending the occupation and formulating a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with minor one-to-one land swaps, two capitals in Jerusalem, extensive security coordination and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.”

Earlier this week, Trump said that he may publish some of the details relating to his plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict prior to the Israel’s September 17 election.

Trump’s latest announcement and last month’s vote by Congress to endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while rejecting efforts to boycott the Jewish state led 25 former Israeli senior security and defense officials to send a letter to Congress on Tuesday, as well.

The letter weighed in against Israel unilaterally annexing all or part of the West Bank, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is considering if re-elected.

“Any unilateral annexation of territory or extension of sovereignty to the West Bank will put Israel’s security and safety along with the well-being of its citizens at risk,” the letter said.

It was signed by former heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), and three former advisers to Netanyahu. It was addressed to US Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill.; Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.; Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.; and Ann Wagner, R-Mo., the co-sponsors of the bill and staunch supporters of Israel.

“We look forward to future bipartisan congressional initiatives that explicitly identify annexation as a threat to Israel’s security, and Jewish and democratic future,” the letter concluded.

The economic portion of Trump’s “Deal of the Century” plan, which made no mention of a Palestinian state, was published in June.


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