Among the voices in support of Israel’s right to defend itself, U.S is the loudest. As the war grinds on, sacrificing innocent civilians in its wake, fingers are beginning to point to U.S as the main supporter of Israel’s “massacre” at the beseiged enclave, the literal wind in Israel’s sail.
With this in mind, a group of former global leaders working towards peace and human rights known as the Elders have sent an open letter to U.S President, Joe Biden, cautioning that Israel’s destruction of Gaza and killing of civilians put “U.S credibility and interests across the world” at stake.
“For too long the world has spoken of a two-state solution while allowing Israel to build a one-state reality,” the group said.
According to the Elders, Israeli policies of expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank, and normalising relations with Arab countries while bypassing the Palestinians, have not made Israelis safe.
They asserted that successive U.S governments have been “complicit in these failures.”
“Destroying Gaza and killing civilians are not making Israelis safe. These actions will breed more terrorism, across the region and beyond. There is no military solution to this conflict.
“The violence is already feeding antisemitism and islamophobia, including in the USA. It undermines your other objectives in the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere.”The Elders
De-escalation is not enough. We cannot go back to managing the conflict. It will erupt again and again with more death and misery.
“The conflict must be resolved, permanently, through negotiation”, the group said, calling for a “serious peace plan” and “lasting political solution” to end the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The group noted that the permanent solution must guarantee the security of Israel, whose people remain under threat. And it must meet Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for their own state. Long denied during 56 years of occupation, these hopes are fading fast, as innocent Palestinians die in the rubble of Gaza and the stolen lands of the West Bank.
The group encouraged Biden and Secretary Blinken to continue working to release Israeli hostages, and end the collective punishment of Palestinian civilians.
The Palestinian group accused the US Department of Defense of amplifying a “blatantly false narrative”.
In a post on Telegram, Hamas also said that by echoing Israel’s false claims that it uses Gaza’s hospitals, the Biden administration is responsible for the “war crimes and genocide” being committed by Israeli forces.
It said that Washington is providing cover to Israel to continue with its attacks on Gaza hospitals, which Hamas said aim to displace Palestinians in the enclave.
Golden Chance To Bring Peace
Moreover, the Elders asserted that Biden has a historic opportunity to help end the Israel-Palestine conflict – permanently.
As polarisation increases, the group said, the world requires Biden to set out a vision for peace, adding “that vision must give hope to those who reject extremism and want the violence to end.”
“We urge you to do two things: set out a serious peace plan, and help build a new coalition for peace to deliver it,” the Elders noted.
“This plan should answer who runs Gaza next, end Israel’s accelerating annexation of Palestinian land, and address Israel’s legitimate security concerns. It must recognise the equal rights of Palestinians and Israelis, and be rooted in international law, including the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”The Elders
Per the group’s letter, Israelis and Palestinians will not end this conflict on their own.
“The history is too complicated, the politics too polarised, the compromises required too difficult. But peace cannot be imposed from outside. It requires bold leaders with legitimacy and credibility among their peoples, and a commitment to two states living together peacefully. Those leaders are not currently in power in Palestine or Israel.”The Elders
The USA cannot bring peace to the Middle East on its own, the group said, rather, Biden can help build a new coalition for peace, including countries from the region and Europe who want a just settlement.
They added, “This coalition can restore a political horizon, and rebuild the trust needed for dialogue.”
Nonetheless, the group admitted that progress will not be easy, or quick as years of mistrust and violence have left the two peoples far from readiness to negotiate.
“A comprehensive agreement will take years. It will demand enormous political courage from all leaders, in the face of significant domestic opposition, the Elders emphasized.
Finally, the group urged that “Now is the time to start.”