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After Gaza: Toward a Just Resolution of the Conflict.

May 27, 2021 - As supporters of a two-state solution to the conflict between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people, the Jewish Labor Committee opposes the continued Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza. We support calls for meaningful peace negotiations between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority toward a negotiated end of that control and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel.

We are heartbroken by, and care deeply about the tragic loss of innocent lives on both sides – falling heaviest on civilians in Gaza. Yet, anyone who condemns the deaths of Palestinian civilians must also condemn the intentional launching by Hamas and related forces of rockets in densely-populated neighborhoods, in close proximity to schools, hospitals and other institutions. The escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel earlier in May was the result of Hamas forces firing what eventually amounted to over 4,000 rockets indiscriminately over the border into Israel. Hamas knew that its assault on Israeli civilians would bring a swift and harsh response.

East Jerusalem must not continue to be a flashpoint between its Palestinian residents and Jewish settlers attempting to take over property there. We oppose the attempts to forcibly evict Palestinian families from homes that they have lived in for as long as 60 years in Sheikh Jarrah, in East Jerusalem. We support a fair and just examination of the competing claims to the land upon which those homes were built. Eviction orders are now under appeal before Israel’s Supreme Court.

We call on the United States to reassert a leadership role to assist in finding a just and equitable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the same time, we oppose recent calls for actions that will make it harder for forces in the peace camp and the democratic left within Israel to gain support for opposing continued Israeli control of the West Bank. Such measures would hamper the work of Israelis who call for respecting the rights of Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and within the State of Israel itself.

We also reject demands on the Biden Administration to “stop aid to Israel.” We call for the U.S. to make certain that aid to Israel does not end up bolstering the settler movement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the massive infrastructure of military control that has been developed over the years. At the same time, we support the Biden Administration’s efforts to assist in repairing the extensive destruction and damage in Gaza resulting from the recent conflict.

Since Israel came into existence as an independent state, the Jewish Labor Committee has supported the right of the State of Israel to exist and to defend itself, consonant with international law. Furthermore, we strongly support all efforts to secure equal civil and human rights for all Israeli citizens, including Palestinian Arabs and other ethnic and religious minorities. And we support the right of the Palestinian people to live freely in an independent Palestinian state that would respect the civil and human rights of Jews and other minorities in that country.