Israelis and Palestinians have both suffered greatly from their long-standing and seemingly interminable conflict. For nearly a century, international leaders, diplomats, and scholars have debated the issues and attempted to resolve this conflict. The world has changed greatly during this period, as have the security challenges facing the Middle East. Many of the disputed issues have remained largely the same, and stubbornly intractable. The time has come to end the conflict, and unlock the vast human potential and economic opportunity that peace will bring to Israelis, Palestinians and the region as a whole. Over the decades, many proposals and ideas have been put forward, but elements of those plans were unachievable given the realities on the ground and in the broader Middle East. While no plan will give either side all of what it wants, what follows is our view of the best, most realistic and most achievable outcome for the parties.
Palestinians have aspirations that have not been realized, including self-determination, improvement of their standard of living, social betterment, and a respected place in the region, as well as among the nations of the world. Many Palestinians desire peace and recognize the enormous economic opportunities and social benefits that await them if relations with the State of Israel can be normalized. Gaza is a very complicated situation. It is under the control of Hamas, a terrorist organization, and, as a result of Hamas' policies, is approaching a humanitarian crisis. It is time to help the Palestinians achieve a hopeful and prosperous future and enable them to join the community of nations.
The State of Israel has made peace with two of its neighbors. It made peace with the Arab Republic of Egypt in 1979 and it made peace with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1994, two countries with which the State of Israel had fought multiple wars and numerous border skirmishes. The State of Israel has also exchanged sizeable territories for the sake of peace, as it did when it withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for peace with the Arab Republic of Egypt. While Israeli citizens have suffered greatly as a result of violence and terrorism, Israelis still desire peace. These two peace agreements, now 40 and 25 years old, have endured and bettered the lives of citizens in Israel, Jordan and Egypt.
The conflict between the State of Israel and the Palestinians has kept other Arab countries from normalizing their relationships and jointly pursuing a stable, secure, and prosperous region. One reason for the intractability of this problem is the conflation of two separate conflicts: a territorial, security and refugee dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and a religious dispute between Israel and the Muslim world regarding control over places of religious significance. The absence of formal relations between Israel and most Muslim and Arab countries has only exacerbated the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that if more Muslim and Arab countries normalize relations with Israel it will help advance a just and fair resolution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and prevent radicals from using this conflict to destabilize the region.