Tension and violence between Israel and Palestinians have escalated in recent weeks. With the threat of a third intifada, or Palestinian uprising, against Israel’s occupation looming, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Jerusalem last week to try to help ease the tension.
Secretary Kerry met with Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian leaders to get clarity and agreement on new security measures for the area around the al-Aqsa mosque, which has proved contentious for worshippers and groups asserting political claims of sovereignty over the holy ground. Such diplomatic efforts may reduce the likelihood that this flashpoint will spark a new intifada, but other volatile conditions remain that threaten prospects for realizing a political solution that ends the occupation.
Tell President Obama you support U.S. efforts to establish a process and timeline for seeking a just peace that ends the occupation.
A peace process must be established that seeks to end the occupation. Daily life under occupation leads to desperation and many Palestinians have lost hope in political peace promises. There have been increasing shootings and detentions by the Israeli military, including of children, and violent attacks by settlers against Palestinians routinely occur with impunity.
At the same time a series of violent knife attacks by Palestinians against Israelis has caused the blockades and restrictions, which are commonplace in the West Bank, to be enacted against Palestinian communities inside Israel and East Jerusalem. In the absence of a moderated peace process, greater Israeli insecurity is likely to lead to worsening conditions of occupation rather than a peaceful end to military control.
Without leadership or hope for peace many Palestinians will continue to press for more forceful acts of resistance. Unless the underlying conditions of life under occupation are addressed, the threat of a new intifada still remains. Time is short for the Obama administration. It can’t afford to ignore the status quo of violence and desperation. The U.S. must remain committed to creating a framework and timeline for seeking a peaceful end to the occupation for the sake of both Israelis and Palestinians.