Last Wednesday, the Israeli government announced plans for hundreds of new homes in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In response, the U.S. Department of State issued a sharply-worded statement pointing out how destructive these new settlement plans are.
State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said, "…this report would be the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution…”
He went on to state, unequivocally: “We oppose steps like these, which we believe are counterproductive to the cause of peace. In general, we’re deeply concerned about settlement construction and expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.”
Now is the time for real leadership that can revive and re-accredit the two-state solution as President Obama enters his final months in office. And he can do this - he can lay the groundwork for a two-state agreement in the future by supporting an Israeli-Palestinian two-state resolution in the United Nations Security Council.
Such a resolution would restore U.S. leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. It would preserve the now-foundering two-state outcome. And it would be a gift to the next president, leaving her or him constructive options for consequential actions in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, in place of the ever-worsening, politically stalemated status quo there is today.
Thank President Obama and Secretary Kerry for their consistent opposition to settlements, and ask them to pursue a UN Security Council resolution laying out parameters for a two-state agreement.