Thursday, November 16, 2017

US, Israeli Lawmakers Issue Joint Declaration ahead of Trump Mideast Initiative

US, Israeli Lawmakers Issue Joint Declaration ahead of Trump Mideast Initiative

News from the Middle East Forum
November 16, 2017
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From left to right: Israeli MKs Oded Forer and Avraham Neguise with Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) on November 15.
Washington, DC – November 16, 2017 – An unprecedented joint declaration by members of Congress and Israel's Knesset has laid the core principles of a bold new approach to ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict ahead of an expected new push for Middle East peace by President Trump.
The declaration signed by members of the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC) and the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus (KIVC) affirms that "the primary obstacle to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the near-century of Palestinian rejectionism of the right of self-determination for the Jewish people," and that "only Palestinian acknowledgement of the Jewish people's historic connection to the Land of Israel, and acceptance of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, will end the conflict."
The declaration was signed on a visit by KIVC Co-Chairman Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) and Chairman of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Avraham Neguise (Likud) to Washington and New York, where they met their counterparts in the CIVC, dozens of congressmen from both sides of the aisle, senior government decision-makers, Jewish and Christian leaders, and other opinion-shapers.
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"Every attempt at negotiations with the Palestinians without demanding that they recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people will fail," MK Forer said. "Together with members of Congress from both parties, we call on the American administration to demand that the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people as a precondition to future talks. There can be no negotiations on our legitimate right to self-determination."
"The central message we have brought to the US is that the Palestinians need to move from rejectionism to recognition and we are delighted at the support we have received from our friends in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats," said MK Neguise. "We hope this is a message that will be taken on board by the Trump administration in any efforts or initiatives it pushes forward in the months ahead."
The CIVC, co-chaired by Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Juan Vargas (D-CA), and Bill Johnson (R-OH), has 32 members of Congress from both the Republican and Democratic parties. The KIVC, co-chaired by Forer and MK Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid), has 16 MKs representing every mainstream Zionist party in both the government and the opposition.
"It has been an honor to meet with the Israeli members of the (Knesset) Israel Victory Caucus this week and discuss the cherished friendship between our two nations," Rep. DeSantis said. "We agree that the greatest obstacle to peace is the refusal of Palestinians to acknowledge that Israel is the legitimate national home of the Jewish people."
KIVC Co-Chair Oded Forer and MK Avraham Neguise with (clockwise from top left) Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Hillel President Eric Fingerhut.
"I'm looking forward to working with our allies in the Knesset to advance the idea of an Israeli victory as an alternative approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – one where Israel stops making unnecessary concessions and instead the Palestinians concede their goal of destroying the State of Israel and accept that it is here to stay," Rep Johnson said. "There can be no progress made towards peace until the Palestinians accept that significant, but simple concept."
The two caucuses were formed with the support of the Middle East Forum, led by Daniel Pipes, who launched the Israel Victory Project (IVP) earlier in the year.
"The Israel Victory Project is building political and intellectual support eventually to replace the current 'peace process' paradigm with one that will work better for both Israelis and Palestinians," Pipes said.

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