Jan. 7 (JTA) I will play an active role in promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the Arab states not just through words and promises, but through sustained, high-level engagement, including by appointing a senior envoy, answering directly to me, to move this process forward. I support a two-state solution, with the Jewish state of Israel and a legitimate, democratic and territorially viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace. All the specific differences between Israel and the Palestinians must be solved through dialogue and negotiation, not terrorism and violence. The Israeli people deserve to live without the fear of terrorism, and the Palestinian people deserve to live under a representative government that fights terrorism, ends corruption and supports fundamental freedoms. As long as the Palestinian leadership fails to end terror, Israel has a right to take measures to defend itself. Such defensive measures are not the cause of terrorism they are the response to terrorism. Yet, these measures should not be a substitute for negotiations that can lead to a long-term settlement. To achieve peace, both sides recognize that they will have to make difficult choices. But these decisions must be made by the parties themselves, not imposed from the outside. I believe that the United States and others in the international community must stand ready to support the Israelis and the Palestinians as they make these difficult decisions. Faith is enormously important to me personally and to tens of millions of Americans. In addition, religious institutions do wonderful work and make important contributions to our society. In a manner consistent with the First Amendment, faith-based charities should be able to participate in delivering services. But they should also meet the same anti-discrimination standards as other charities receiving government support. We should be encouraging faith-based initiatives in a way that values the important work of these organizations and does not divide Americans. John Edwards represents North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.
John Edwards’ statement