The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s chief executive officer expressed strong support for the establishment of a Palestinian state during his address to the organization’s 2018 conference in Washington DC Sunday night, warning that the Jewish state will never live securely “until she is at peace with all her neighbors”.
Despite a clear shift in both Israeli and US policy on the issue, AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr urged both sides to return to the negotiating table and secure an agreement paving the way for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“We must all work toward that future: two states for two peoples,” said Kohr. “One Jewish with secure and defensible borders, and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future. Today that dream seems remote. This is tragic.”
Kohr lamented the present diplomatic impasse, warning that the failure to achieve a two-state solution leaves Israel vulnerable.
“The absence of a constructive peace process is nothing to celebrate. Israel’s security cannot be fully assured and her promise cannot be fully realized until she is at peace with all her neighbors.”
While previous American administrations have strongly endorsed the two-state solution, the Trump administration has refrained from explicitly backing the establishment of a Palestinian state, instead merely stating that the US will facilitate, if possible, whatever agreement the two parties can agree to.
In January, Vice President Mike Pence told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi that the US would back a two-state solution – but only if both sides agreed to it.
President Trump has yet to release a framework for a possible peace deal, though Arab media outlets leaked what they claim are details of a plan now being devised by the White House.
Yet the Trump administration has dropped language regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state from key policy documents, including its December 2017 National Security Strategy report, which made no mention whatsoever of the two-state solution, in contrast to the previous Obama-era report published in 2015.
Public support for the two-state solution has declined among both Israelis and Palestinian Authority residents, with a majority on both sides opposed to the kind of compromise agreement proposed in prior negotiations.
Palestinian Authority leaders have rejected the US as a broker for negotiations, and on Sunday a senior PA official said that President Trump’s peace plan would be dead on arrival.