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The Elders: Biden, the world needs you to act now for peace between Israel, Palestine

November 17, 2023 at 11:03 am

President of the United States Joe Biden delivers remarks on infrastructure in Bear, Delaware, United States on November 6, 2023 [Kyle Mazza – Anadolu Agency]

The world has the historic opportunity to “help end the Israel-Palestine conflict – permanently,” the Elders have told US President Joe Biden.

In an open letter issued to Biden yesterday, the Elders said: “As polarisation increases, the world needs you to set out a vision for peace. That vision must give hope to those who reject extremism and want the violence to end.”

“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,” they explained, warning that “US credibility and interests across the world are at stake.”

“The only way to make Israelis and Palestinians safe is a lasting political solution. It must guarantee the security of Israel, whose people remain under threat. And it must meet Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for their own state.”

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They warned that for too long the world has spoken of a two-state solution but allowed a one-state reality to take shape, with Israel expanding illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and normalising relations with Arab states while bypassing Palestinians.

They went on to urge Biden “to do two things: set out a serious peace plan, and help build a new coalition for peace to deliver it.”

The plan, the letter explained, needs to include an answer to who will run the Gaza Strip, ending Israel’s “accelerating annexation” of Palestinian land, recognise the equal rights of Palestinians and Israelis and be rooted in international law.

“Progress will not be easy, or quick. Years of mistrust and violence have left the two peoples far from readiness to negotiate,” they explained, but “Now is the time to start.”

Urging Biden to do more, they concluded: “History will never forget your leadership if you do.”

Founded by the late South African President and social rights activists Nelson Mandela in 2007, the Elders is a body of independent global leaders working together for peace, justice, human rights and a sustainable planet.

Israel launched a genocidal bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip on 7 October killing more than 11,000 Palestinians, the vast majority women and children. Tens of thousands have been injured and thousands more are trapped beneath the rubble with no way to escape. The lives of thousands of patients is at risk as fuel and medicines have run out and lifesaving medical equipment has ceased operating.

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