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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
New Haven Register
November 29, 2003
Story of former Israeli chiefs of security criticizing Prime Minister Sharon
To the editor:
The story about four former Israeli chiefs of security "sharply" criticizing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is one of several exciting new developments toward a breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The former heads of Shin Bet, Israel's security service, with a combined record of 18 years of service, warned Sharon that Israel was heading for a "catastrophe if it does not reach a peace deal soon."
Imagine the reaction if four former heads of the FBI were to tell President Bush he is pursuing a wrong policy.
But that is not all. Israel's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, publicly told Sharon that "restrictions on Palestinians are counterproductive and breeding greater militancy."
Hopes for a peace settlement were also raised by the peace statement drawn up by Sari Nusseibah, president of Al Quds University, and Ami Ayalon, one of the four former Shin Bet heads. This statement has been circulated for endorsement and has been signed by over 100,000 Israelis and 70,000 Palestinians.
And there is the Geneva Accord, a detailed plan for peace prepared by Yossi Beilen, a former Israeli justice minister, and Yasir Abed Rabbo, a former Palestinian information minister.
This plan spells out agreements on how Jerusalem could be administered and shared by both sides, a resolution of the right of return issue, demilitarization of a Palestinian state and other issues.
These plans clearly demonstrate that both sides have someone to talk to, that people on both sides are ready to end the fighting and bloodshed, that at long last peace can be achieved and the hardships and pain lessened.
The plans have been warmly greeted by Secretary of State Colin Powell and by Kofi Annan, general secretary of the United Nations. Annan said the Geneva Accord, the Nusseibah-Ayalon plan and the road map are all "consistent and compatible with each other and with U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338."
What is needed now is action by the U. S. government to put its weight and influence behind them.
Already Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has expressed support for the plans. We need more senators and representatives to speak up.
For the sake of Israel's future and security, American Jews should cast off their reluctance to criticize harmful policies of the Sharon government and urge our leaders to endorse these plans.
Most Israelis and Palestinians want peace. There are no workable military solutions to the problems, but the plans show that there are political solutions.
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