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In recent talks with interfaith leaders and with Jewish leaders, Secretary of State John Kerry and Ambassador Martin Indyk, his lead negotiator for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations outlined, according to John Judis at The New Republic, the framework that Secretary Kerry is going to propose to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators for a two-states-for-two-peoples peace settlement. For those of us who support such a peace settlement, or who simply want President and Obama and Secretary Kerry to succeed, it's not to early to begin mobilizing. Some of the  elements, according to Judis, are:

  • Israel recognizes Palestine as the nation of the Palestinian people; Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation of the Jewish people.
  • Through land swaps, 75-80% of Israeli settlers will remain in place.
  • Palestinian refugees would receive some sort of compensation; so would Jewish refugees who fled, and in many cases were forced to flee, Arab countries after 1947.
  • A security zone along the Jordan River would be established, consisting of electrified fences and unmanned aerial vehicles. For a specified, limited time, Israeli forces could be part of the force policing the zone.
  • Both sides may accept the framework with reservations; the United States will give its views on how the reserved issues should be resolved.

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According to Judis:

People who have followed these negotiations believe that Abbas would accept with reservations this kind of framework agreement, but that Netanyahu will have difficulty doing so. Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party and part of Netanyahu’s own Likud party would likely leave the government. Netanyahu would have to reconstitute his majority by bringing in the Labor Party and probably the ultra-orthodox Shas party. If he does that, Netanyahu will have hitched his future to the framework proposals and to the provision that the Israelis and Palestinians reach a final status agreement. It would not appear to make sense for Netanyahu to blow up his stable majority in order spend the rest of the year equivocating over details and throwing up new obstacles. So a big decision from the Israeli prime minister is in the offing, one that could determine whether there will be a two-state solution.
As Israeli blogger Marc Goldberg puts it at The Times of Israel:
The Israeli public went with [Ehud] Barack when he pushed for peace, they went with Sharon when he pushed for peace and with Olmert when he pushed for peace. When the Palestinians pushed these opportunities away the Israeli public went to the Likud. A party whose founder would be turning in his grave if he thought that the current premier was even negotiating over the land promised to the Jews by God. The Likud is a party that was created with the intention of settling that land and making it Jewish, permanently.

This must weigh on Bibi [Netanyahu] while he sits in negotiations. Now is the critical moment when he is forced to confront a changing strategic reality. One that has rendered a great deal of the security argument vis a vis the Palestinians moot.

* * *

The choice by Abbas to put down the gun but to raise the megaphone has our politicians running for cover when they should be jumping for joy. The terse statement by Defense Minister Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon that Israel “will manage without a peace deal” lay the Likud bare. ...

I say that the truth is we can’t have it all. We took the land but we weren’t fated to make it ours. We have enough, give the Palestinians theirs, let the Americans patrol it and look to the future of Israel rather than the past.

It certainly will be possible to quibble over details of the U.S. framework for peace. In a better world, Ma'ale Adumim, site of the now famous Soda Stream factory, would revert to Palestine; Judis reports that it likely will become part of Israel. And, more importantly, there's no word yet regarding a settlement for Jerusalem.

But those of us who want to give peace a chance, to achieve a peace settlement that enables Israel and Palestine to live alongside each other in peace and, soon one hopes, in amity, need to rally round. Secretary Kerry and President Obama need to know that we have their backs. So, too, do our Representatives and Senators.

And those of us with affiliations within the American Jewish community need to let those who would speak for us know that neither we nor history will forgive them if they fail to support what may be the last bast chance to secure Israel's long-term position as a secure, prosperous, and democratic Jewish state.

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