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Activists: Now, yes now, is the time for US to push for MidEast peace

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Ron Pundak, an Israeli architect of the Oslo accords and chairman of the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGOs Forum, argues that current trends like settlement expansion are closing the door on the possibility of Israel and Palestine as two separate states. 

"What is happening now, as a result of the policies of the last 19 years, is this option of two states… is becoming a less and less realistic option because of realities on the ground, because of a change of the atmosphere," he says.

OneVoice's hope is that their petition will prove to whomever wins the Oval Office on Nov. 7 that tackling this political land mine will have payoff with voters, and that he will make it a top priority from the outset of his term. No matter how many signatures they get on their petition – it had 482 yesterday and they are aiming for thousands – they will be presenting it to the winner that Wednesday.

But any such petition and publicity effort will be up against tremendous inertia in Washington, where past presidents have devoted much energy to the project only to see hopes dashed.

Presidential interest?

Mr. Pundak says that the perception in Israel is that Mr. Romney has already written off the peace process, seeing no chance of success, while President Barack Obama is likely to make another attempt if re-elected. He believes that President Obama really wants to be one of the architects of a two-state solution.

"The question is whether his aides will tell him, 'Why bother? It's too difficult. Why should you enter into something where everyone has failed?'" he says.

But, he quips, "Maybe he should be the signateur for at least one peace agreement. After all, he is a Nobel peace laureate."

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