Over 175 Palestinians killed. Six Israelis killed. More than 1,500 Israeli strikes launched at Gaza. At least 1,400 Palestinian rockets fired at Israel. How and when will this madness end? The recent conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza only underscores the founding principles of ATFP: there is no military solution; peace can only be based on two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace, security and dignity; and our own country, the United States, has a vital national security interest in ending the conflict through a negotiated agreement.
Almost 10 years ago, in early 2003, ATFP was created to achieve a number of objectives. We have striven to bring Palestinians and Americans closer together in every possible way. We have successfully mainstreamed the issue and the cause of Palestine in the American policy making and framing conversation, and become an important voice in Washington in advocating for peace and Palestine. Even though the situation is grim, it is more obvious than ever that only ATFP's approach offers a solution for Palestinians, Israelis, their neighbors and our own country. Otherwise, we will all remain trapped in an endless cycle of violence, primarily at the expense of ordinary human beings such as the innocent people of Palestine and Israel.
As ATFP enters its second decade, our work is far from done. The upheavals in the Arab world have created new challenges and opportunities. The Palestinian issue can no longer be isolated, nor can the region be stabilized or move forward without progress on resolving it. This past year witnessed many setbacks and frustrations. Negotiations are at an impasse. Palestinians, Israelis and Americans are drifting further apart at a time when they need to move closer together to bring this conflict to an end. The Palestinian institution-building program, which has been giving Palestinians the security and effective, accountable governance that they deserve, is being threatened by a lack of funds. The Palestinian issue is no longer near the top of US regional priorities. And finally came the conflict in Gaza. Hope for Palestinians and Israelis requires reestablishing the virtuous dynamic that only the kinds of partnership championed by ATFP can deliver.
These negative developments have emboldened extreme voices on all sides. And these shrill, strident voices have little difficulty garnering significant financial support by appealing to peoples' basest instincts. There is a growing triumphalism from those who advocate perpetual conflict. The more Americans of goodwill abandon hope and walk away from the issue, the closer the voices of hatred are to dominating the conversation. But ATFP refuses to walk away. Werefuse to succumb to despair. As a consequence, we have come under unprecedented attack by those who would condemn Palestinians and Israelis to a future of conflict and suffering. Nonetheless, we remain committed to advocating partnership and compromise. We believe this is the only way to advance the cause of peace and American interests and values.
Despite numerous institutional and policy challenges, we have remained active in Washington and beyond. We were instrumental, working with several partners, in securing the release of $200 million of last year’s US assistance to the PA and we will continue these efforts. We have worked to bring Palestinians and Israelis closer together in numerous public and private engagements. In the past year, our staff has addressed audiences in more than 65 cities across the country to counter the narrative of despair and nihilism with one of realistic hope. We published scores of articles and made countless media appearances to advocate for peace and the institution-building program we believe lays the necessary groundwork for a successful, independent Palestine. This is the only viable win-win scenario for both peoples and for our own country.
ATFP has never been more badly needed than it is now. But ATFP has never needed your help more urgently than it does now. Please consider supporting ATFP by making a donation by clicking here.
The past year has been trying for the Task Force and our cause, but has vindicated everything we stand for and all that we are trying to achieve. We have proven, despite many doubts and critics, that it is possible to successfully argue on behalf of peace at the highest policy levels in Washington. We are convinced that crucial opportunities to promote and protect the cause of peace will unfold in the coming months. However, when we say we rely on your generosity, this is literal and precise. We are committed to doing everything we can in this indispensable cause. To maintain and pursue our independent policies and decision-making, we rely entirely on your support. We ask you, through your generosity, to allow us to continue our work on behalf of peace, Palestine and the American national interest.
We are counting on you and your commitment to a better future! Please donate here
Ziad J. Asali, MD, President;
Ghaith al-Omari, LLM, Executive Director;
Hussein Ibish, PhD, Senior Fellow