Bilateral negotiations toward a two-state solution are now within reach. Extending the settlement freeze will help the Israeli government convey a goodwill gesture that will build confidance and momentum toward a comprehensive peace settlement. It is also the right policy for Israel to ensure it remains a vibrant democracy without endangering its Jewish spirit.
This is why OneVoice Israel (OVI) published on Monday an ad in the Hebrew language daily Maariv asking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stick to the principles of the Bar Ilan speech and maintain the settlement freeze.
"Prime Minister Netanyahu knows that preserving a Jewish majority and a democratic State are incompatibe with the settlement enterprise in the West Bank," said OVI Executive Director Tal Harris. "We want to highligh the realistic path toward a two state agreement."
OVI strategically highlighted the negative implications of settlement building, such as an increased isolation of Israel, a confused education system, and the unfortunate eventualities of a one-state alternative.
The advertisement was a counter response to one from the Yesha Council, a group of municipal councils of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the biblical names for the West Bank), which called for Netanyahu and other Israeli government ministers to continue building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories after the moratorium is lifted in September.
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A Leader's Job is to Lead
The Settlement Freeze Should be Extended!
On the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with President Obama, the OneVoice Movement and the moderate majority in Israel remind the ministers of the government: a word is a word, stick to the principles of Netanyahu's Bar Ilan speech.
An end to the freeze jeopardizes the two-state solution!
You were elected to office by the moderate majority (and not just by the Judea Samaria council) on a platform promising to lead us to peace and security.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: I said in Washington to President Obama, loud and clear: We will be ready, in a future peace settlement, to reach a solution with a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon: Is it not strategic enough for you to separate with an agreement from the four million Palestinians who live among us?
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: Is it not better for you to be accepted amongst the nations of the world as the one who ended the historical conflict, rather than being denied entrance as a persona non-grata?
Internal Affairs Minister Eli Yishai: Already today 35% of Jerusalem's residents are Palestinians. Is it not better for you to draw clear borders between us and the Palestinians rather than banishing children from the state?
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz: Is it not better to invest in roads which we know for certain will be a part of the state of Israel, rather than investing in more bypass roads all over the West Bank?
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar: The people want to return to the values of Zionism on which the state was founded: with a separation between Israel and the Palestinian nation. If the construction is renewed, could you also educate millions of Palestinian children into loving Zion?
Communications Minister Moshe Kachlon: Is your next battle against the fees that cellular companies charge going to be against the companies that are behind Palestinian cellular companies in a state without clear borders?
Minister Benny Begin: Are you ready to accept the case of a bi-national state?
Citizens of Israel, the choice is in your hands! Imagine Israel in 2018.