Israel cannot be both a democratic and majority Jewish state.
By Dianne Feinstein and Martin Heinrich
Originally appeared in USA Today
The United States has been unwavering in its commitment to Israel’s security. We and other leaders have worked together to address the myriad challenges Israel faces, including terrorism, incitement, de-legitimization efforts and regional instability.
Previous administrations have consistently enhanced this assistance and cooperation, including
An integral component of the U.S.-Israel relationship is our shared commitment to negotiating a two-state solution, which would see the creation of an independent Palestine beside a democratic, Jewish Israel. This remains the only way to build a lasting peace and ensure Israel remains the democratic homeland of the Jewish people.
A two-state solution would resolve the
That is why previous administrations — Democratic and Republican alike — have engaged, with overwhelming bipartisan congressional support, in efforts to help facilitate such an outcome.
Yet a negotiated two-state solution seems further out of reach than ever before.
Also standing in the way of peace is the incitement of violence and terror by Palestinians. Last year the world witnessed hundreds of indiscriminate attacks against ordinary Israelis. Terrorists used knives, guns and vehicles to kill, injure and maim random Israeli civilians. Even our own citizens were killed in these despicable terror attacks. As violence continues, it’s understandable why many would doubt whether peace is possible in the face of such hatred.
Yet, according to public opinion polls, the majority of Israelis and Palestinians continue to favor a two-state solution.
We strongly believe that without two states for two peoples, the violence we see today will only become worse. Without two states, true security for Israel will vanish, alongside the legitimate aspirations of ordinary Palestinians for a state of their own.
Perhaps most importantly, without an independent Palestine by its side, Israel cannot be both a democratic and majority Jewish state. Today, the Jewish people are already a minority between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. There are 6.3 million Jewish Israelis compared to 6.6 million non-Jewish minorities, most of them Palestinian Arabs.
Since the Jewish people are already a minority, a one-state solution cannot be both majority Jewish and democratic. We have not heard a plausible proposal where a one-state solution wouldn’t require a Jewish minority to govern a non-Jewish majority.
To avoid this outcome, we urge the Trump administration to prioritize the
We recognize only the parties themselves can ultimately negotiate an end to their conflict. Yet, the United States must continue to play a constructive role, rather than turning a blind eye to actions by either party that undermine the prospects for peace.