Media reports regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
have lately focused on White House condemnations of Israeli
evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, as well as plans
for new Jewish settlement in that part of the city. While this
is an important story, the focus can lead to a misperception
that the Obama administration is not holding the Palestinian
people accountable as well -- when, in fact, such accountability
is a key element of Presidential policy. The President has been
quite clear about his demands of the Palestinians: greater
security, greater transparency, less incitement. The U.S. is
currently playing a lead role in training Palestinian forces on
the West Bank, where security has greatly improved, and Obama
has said that the Palestinian Authority must be more committed
to securing its side of the border from threats to Israel. He
has furthermore been absolutely unequivocal in his denunciations
of terrorism, saying in his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo
that "it is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets
at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That's
not how moral authority is claimed; that's how it is
surrendered." As the President has continued to press forward
toward negotiations, he has consistently called for action not
just from one party, but from all parties to the conflict: "For
peace to come, it is time for them -- and all of us -- to live
up to our responsibilities."We’ve Got Your Back on Palestinian Accountability,
Mr. President pdf
"The Palestinians have a set of
obligations, some of which the Palestinian Authority have met,
some of which they have not been as strong on. We want to
encourage them to clamp down on violence, to end the incitement
that you still hear, unfortunately, in many Palestinian
communities." --President Barack Obama, July 2, 2009
Violence perpetrated by Palestinians against Israel
threatens Israelis' sense of personal security, as well as
Palestinian aspirations for an independent state.
President Obama is clear on this point:
"Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence
and killing is wrong and it does not succeed." The President has
consistently called on Palestinians to recognize Israel,
relinquish support for terror, and abide by their past
The Palestinian Authority is obligated, under the
terms of the Road Map, to take responsibility for security and
end incitement against Israel.
In the last
year, there has been a dramatic improvement in security
throughout the West Bank, due in large part to a Palestinian
National Security Forces training program under the direction
of U.S. General Keith Dayton. The Obama Administration has
held serious and intensive discussions with the leadership of
the Palestinian Authority (PA), urging them to take further
responsibility for ensuring security and ending incitement
against Israel. As President Obama stated, "There's still a
tendency, even...among Palestinians who say they are interested
in peace with Israel, to engage in statements that...incite a
hatred of Israel or are not constructive to the peace process.
Now, I think to his credit, President Abbas has made progress on
this issue -- but not enough." On the security issue, Obama
bluntly stated: "We still have not seen a firm commitment from
the Palestinian Authority that they can control some of the
border areas that Israel is going to be very concerned about if
there were to be a two-state solution."
Strengthening Palestinian governance is part and
parcel of advancing the peace process.
governance -- enhanced transparency, accountability, and
adherence to the rule of law -- is essential for Palestinian
self-determination as well as for reaching an
Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. President Obama has been
explicit in raising his concerns about poor governance in the
Palestinian Authority. He has noted that "there are still
problems of corruption and mismanagement within the Authority
that have to be addressed," and has urged Palestinians to
improve their governance capacity "so that Israelis can be
confident that the Palestinians can follow through on any
commitments they make across the table."
Effective Palestinian institutions are a crucial
element of a viable Palestinian state.
can best build strong national institutions as part of the
process of creating an independent state. As U.S.
Representatives Boustany, Carnahan, and Cohen wrote in a letter,
signed by 87 Congress members, to President Obama: "Building
Palestinian capacity in the economic and security sectors and
building transparent institutions of self-governance are
important goals, deserving of American support and central to
the future success of a Palestinian state. Rather than
preconditions for statehood, these are goals that can be
effectively realized over time once a Palestinian state has been
created, with extensive international assistance, involvement,
Obama" Fact Sheets
We've Got Your Back as You Stand with Israel, Mr.
We've Got Your Back on Building Arab Support for
Peace, Mr. President pdf
We’ve Got Your Back on Palestinian
Accountability, Mr. President pdf
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish
Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
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