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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Direct negotiations between the State of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, as opposed to a unilateral declaration of independence at the United Nations, is a fundamental basis for achieving a peaceful and mutually agreeable formation of a future Palestinian state.

Based on the notion of equality between parties wherein joint cooperation, trust and respect for one another underlie any discussions, the direct negotiations method is facilitative in bringing about an agreement that acknowledges both historical territorial claims to land while also taking into account the current demographic and security realities involved in the creation of a Palestinian state.

Direct negotiations is not only an internationally proven method to reach a constructive agreement; it is the only reliable way to achieve true and lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Israel is a peaceful, democratic nation in a region replete with autocratic regimes that do not believe in equality, tolerance of others or nonviolence. Surrounded by enemies, Israel has learned the value of compromising with responsible partners to bring about peaceful ends to violent conflicts.

Through a combination of goodwill measures starting with Anwar Sadat's famous diplomatic visit to Jerusalem in 1977 and Israel's return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, Israel and Egypt were able to negotiate with one another culminating in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Camp David Accords.

The Washington Declaration signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994 led to normalized relations between the two states and an end to a 46-year-long state of war. As these resolutions demonstrate, there is no credible and effective substitute for direct negotiations between partners willing to reach a viable, diplomatic and peaceful end to this conflict.

By refusing to come to the table and negotiate with Israel since last September, the Palestinian Authority - despite pleas from Israel, the United States, the European Union and others - is preventing constructive dialogue from taking place that will eventually lead to the formation of a Palestinian state. This intransigence is not only counterproductive; it can potentially render moot previous progress and goodwill gestures made to resolving this conflict. Moreover, the Palestinian National Authority's willingness to engage in unity talks with Hamas, a militant group deemed to be a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State whose constitution does not recognize the State of Israel and calls for its destruction, demonstrates misplaced priorities and is an action not conducive to reaching a peaceable agreement with Israel.

Having made historic and unprecedented territorial withdrawals throughout her history, Israel is once again ready to cede territory to others to gain peace. By coming to the negotiating table, a lasting peace and amicable end to this bitter conflict can be achieved. It is with this understanding that we ask our fellow students, faculty members and administrators to support an immediate and prompt resumption of direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis and to oppose a Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence at the United Nations.

Claire Miller

Gators For Israel

University of Florida

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