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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Eagle

Former Rep. Wexler calls for two-state solution between Israel and Palestinian Authority

Robert Wexler said the best solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be a two-state solution during a speech Wednesday night in the University Club.

A democratic Jewish-Israeli state and a Palestinian state should both exist with internationally recognized borders, “most likely mirroring the 1967 lines with swaps in a way that almost 80 percent of the ‘settlers,’ can be assigned within the internationally recognized borders of Jerusalem,” Wexler said in the Kennedy Political Union-sponsored event.

The former Democratic representative of the 19th District of Florida and current president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace said one of the major obstacles in solving the conflict is overcoming bias.

“Many of us come with bias, I do, I readily admit that,” Wexler said. “From my 13 years in Congress and six years in the Florida State Senate, I have been deeply committed to the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel.”

The Israeli youth that Josh Halpren, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, met on a visit to the city of Ashkelon were unwilling to change their negative perceptions of Palestinians, Halpren said during the question-and-answer portion of the event.

“There has been a demonization of the other side, in some cases a dehumanization, which is terribly unfortunate,” Wexler responded. “People have developed these ideas because of the experiences they have lived through. We can’t undo those experiences. All we can hope to do is create a political dynamic in which they can see hope.”

Now that the settlement freeze has expired, leaders have returned to discussions over settlements. However, Wexler said settlements were a distraction to the real peace talks that would solve the crisis.

“The moment we have a discussion, the issue of settlements will be cast to the side and will allow [President Barack] Obama, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas to engage in the real end-of-conflict discussions that need to happen,” he said.

Wexler said a uniting factor between them is that both countries share a common enemy in Iran.

“The national security interests of the state of Israel and the Arab world is essentially identical,” Wexler said. “They share a common thread: extremism in Iran and a nuclear weapons program there, which threatens to ignite a nuclear arms race in the region.”

While the current economic sanctions have done significant damage to Iran, they have not proven whether they are deterring nuclear proliferation, Wexler said. Wexler said Iran felt most vulnerable after witnessing the U.S. defeat the Iraqi army after seven weeks.

“I think we have a very limited time for diplomacy.” Wexler said. “I’m not advocating military action, but you have to put every option on the table because if you don’t, the Iranians will take advantage of it. Remember, the game of chess was invented by the Persians ... they are great manipulators.”

lgiangreco@theeagleonline.com


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