David Friedman, President-elect Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Israel, reportedly opposes a “two-state solution,” and that is problematic (“Trump Pick To Test Jewish Unity,” Dec. 23).
Palestinian aspirations for their own nation state, long regarded as legitimate by an overwhelming bipartisan consensus of U.S. policy makers, cannot be lightly disregarded.
Two states for two peoples, with security measures sufficiently strong to protect the peace, has been the policy of successive United States governments — Republican and Democratic — and supported by Congress.
That has also been the official policy of Israel governments since Oslo, as clearly expressed by Prime Minister Netanyahu in his 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University. Of course the right of Jewish people to settle and live in Judea and Samaria has long been advocated by a vocal and politically active minority in both countries.
However, most Jewish opinion leaders agree with me that continued settlement expansion beyond existing settlement blocs and into areas envisioned for a future Palestinian state would eventually foreclose the two-state solution and lead to a single majority-Palestinian state.
Demographics are indisputable. Israel would either cease to be a democracy or cease to be majority Jewish. I have long supported the two-state solution because I am convinced that any alternative would ultimately be disastrous for Israel.
America’s ambassadors have always worked to ensure Israel’s ability to protect its citizens and safeguard its borders, listened to diverse perspectives among U.S. Jews, and promoted a two-state solution as the only means to assure Israel’s long-term security.
There are no shortcuts or easy solutions to peace. Only the parties themselves can agree to end their conflict through direct negotiations. I expect the Senate to closely examine whether Mr. Friedman will uphold these policies and whether he should be confirmed as the official representative of the United States to the people of Israel.
Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat, represents New York’s 17th Congressional District.