For decades, the U.S. and Israel have shared a special relationship and strategic partnership based on shared values of personal freedom, democracy, and the rule of law which are critical to promoting peace, security and democracy throughout the entire Middle East. The Palestinian people aspire to enjoy the same human rights, and the United States should support facilitating these aims.
On a related note, and much as we have experienced here in the U.S., Israelis suffer even more terror from extremist groups who reject these liberal values. And just like other countries, Israel has the right to exist within secure and defensible borders. At the same time, the Palestinian people are entitled to enjoy their own freedom and sovereignty. However, as a practical and ethical matter, this can only be achieved through peaceful, direct negotiations.
As a friend and supporter of both the Israeli and Palestinian people, the United States can serve a key role in promoting negotiations and peaceful relations between both national enterprises. Much as the United States has facilitated peaceful relations and economic development between Israel and many Arab states in the region, the United States can and should continue to serve the same role for and between Israelis and Palestinians. By promoting economic cooperation and development in Palestinian territory, the United States can help raise the standard of living for Palestinians and create an environment in which both Israelis and Palestinians stand to gain by reaching a peaceful accord in which the national aspirations of both peoples can be respected and advanced.
At the same time, the United States must stand firmly against terrorism and non-democratic means to accomplish national aspirations, and must oppose the rise of radical forces that seek to accomplish these as well as broader hegemonic aspirations through violent means. The U.S. must counter efforts by Iran and its proxies to increase Iranian influence in the Middle East and destabilize relations between Israel and the Palestinians and other Arab governments in the region.
The United States should support and strengthen the Palestinian Authority and its ambitions for Palestinian sovereignty, and stand against all terrorist ambitions, including terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah that seek to achieve Palestinian statehood through violent means.
Consequently, the United States should continue its long-standing foreign aid to Israel and the Palestinian Authority and support Israeli national defense as well as economic development for Palestinians in the West Bank. The United States must also stand by its ally Israel with military assistance, including anti-missile defense systems like the Iron Dome which protect both Israelis and Palestinians from indiscriminate missile attacks on civilian populations. This assistance also ensures Israel’s military superiority to counter radical forces throughout the Middle East and maintain peace, such as Iran, that threaten the security of Israelis and Arabs alike.
Finally, the United States should support a peace process whereby peace between Israelis and Palestinians can be accomplished through direct negotiations by democratically-elected leaders. The United States must stand behind a free and democratic election process, and the United States should support policies that enable it. And just as elections should occur freely for both the Israelis and Palestinians, the United States should facilitate peace between these peoples through a direct, free and bilateral process, incentivized by American support.