Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

ISRAEL & THE PEACE PROCESS

Adopted at the 106th Annual Convention of the
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Jerusalem, Israel
March, 1995 / Adar II, 5755

Prologue

In the ten months since the CCAR greeted the unfolding peace process with rejoicing and trembling, many developments have produced a grim mood among advocates for Israel's peace and security, forcing us to reevaluate our assessment as well as our hopes and expectations. We need to integrate all of them into our analysis: the peace treaty with Jordan; ongoing dealings with the Palestinian Authority; persistent terrorism and rising Islamic fundamentalism; Israel's economic growth, and the issue of settlements and borders.

Overall, the long-run prospects for peace have been improved by the activities of the last 18 months. While Israel's pre-negotiation situation provided physical control over much of the territory and population which are the sources of terrorism, as well as the military advantage of strategic control, there were many disadvantages: Israel's international isolation remained fixed. Increasing radicalization manifested itself in the rising brazenness of terrorist incidents, the increasing restlessness of Israeli Arabs, the zealousness of Israeli settlers, the hostility of Israeli soldiers to duty in the territories, as well as further polarization of secular and Orthodox elements in Israeli politics. Increasingly, occupation of the West Bank and Gaza was being viewed as inimical to Israeli democracy. The situation was being seen by more and more Israelis as at a dead end, despite the risks that would be associated with the alternatives.

Since the signing of the Declaration of Principles and the peace treaty with Jordan, the situation has altered dramatically. Israel now has diplomatic relations with 152 nations, including Morocco and Tunisia. Its position at the UN has been normalized. The secondary Arab boycott has virtually ended. Moderate Arab governments and international businesses deal openly with Israel. Israel's economy, while still underprivatized and somewhat volatile, is expanding swiftly, providing Israel with a Gross National Product that grew by 8% in 1994, with exports up by 30%. In addition, Israel is out of Gaza, and Syria is beginning to explore the possibility of coming to terms with Israel.

In light of the above context, the Central Conference of American Rabbis therefore adopts the following positions: