Nearly 400 Rabbis Nationwide Urge President to Preserve the Prospects for Peace
Rabbis Call on President to Constructively Engage Moderate Palestinians and Continue Humanitarian Aid
On March 3, 2006, in response to the Palestinian elections, nearly 400 American rabbis sent a letter to the President urging him "to maintain determination in the face of those who deny Israel's right to exist and, at the same time, to leave open the door for those Palestinians who are committed to working for a negotiated, two-state resolution of this conflict."
Read text of the letter
View the complete list of signers!
Check out press coverage on the letter
*An ad featuring the nearly 400 signers will be published in the March 9, 2006 edition of the Forward. (view the pdf)
**Though the letter already has been sent to the President, rabbis can still sign on to this effort via the form to the right.
View frequently asked questions (F.A.Q.)
Dear Mr. President:
As leaders of the American Jewish community, we are deeply troubled by the recent victory of Hamas in the Palestinian legislative elections. Hamas's charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and Hamas has repeatedly perpetrated horrific acts of terror and violence that target innocent civilians. Yet in this challenging hour, we urge you to maintain a cautious approach to the new Palestinian government, so as to preserve the future possibility of bringing Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, which is the only path to achieve true peace and security for both peoples.
As you formulate U.S. policy towards these ends, we urge you to keep the following points in mind:
1) According to international observers, the Palestinians conducted a free, fair, and democratic election, something that is still too rare in this region.
2) Nevertheless, for the new Hamas-led Palestinian government to achieve international recognition and standing, it must "recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace," just as you specified in your State of the Union address.
3) Despite Hamas's victory, recent polls indicate that the majority of Palestinians remains committed to a peace agreement with Israel. With this in mind, we urge constructive engagement with the new Palestinian government, in ways that bolster moderates such as President Mahmoud Abbas and sustain the ceasefire that has allowed for relative calm over the past year.
4) The immediate and short-term needs of the Palestinian people are pressing. We know that the deterioration in their plight only increases support for extremism, which, in turn, endangers Israel. Continued funding for indirect assistance to the Palestinian people via NGO's, with the appropriate conditions to ensure that it does not reach the hands of terrorists, is essential.
During this period of deep concern for the future of Israel, we call on you to maintain determination in the face of those who deny Israel's right to exist and, at the same time, to leave open the door for those Palestinians who are committed to working for a negotiated, two-state resolution of this conflict.