On Monday, Denis McDonough, President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, said that America must reevaluate its already strained relationship with Israel as a result of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent declaration that there would never be a Palestinian state during his time in office.
“We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made,” McDonough told attendees at the annual conference of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel, pro-two-state-solution advocacy group. Thirty-two Stanford students attended the conference.
Instead, McDonough said, the Obama administration would need to “re-evaluate our approach to the peace process and how we pursue the cause of peace.”
He did not elaborate on what this revised policy would look like. However, he emphasized that advancing a two-state solution is a cornerstone of American policy, “because it is the only way to secure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.”
“An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state,” he said.
McDonough stressed, however, that the U.S. will remain unwaveringly committed to Israel’s security and will do everything in its power to negotiate a favorable nuclear deal with Iran.
Stanford students attended the conference as members of the Stanford J Street chapter or out of interest in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Contact Abigail Schott-Rosenfield at aschott ‘at’ stanford.edu.