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What's at Stake?
American Jews must act
The current confluence of
circumstances cannot be ignored. In the last few weeks: the
Israeli government voted for the first time to remove
settlements from part of the occupied territories, President
George Bush was reelected and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
died. All of these are dramatic sources of change that create
challenges and opportunities for progress in the peace
On the day that Arafat was buried, President
Bush met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. At their press
conference, President Bush went on record that he intends to put
American capital behind the establishment of a Palestinian state
in the next four years. The United States is “looking
forward to working with Palestinian leaders who are committed to
fighting terrorism and committed to democratic reform,” he
said, noting that the passing of Arafat provides a “new
opportunity” for resolving the conflict.
Prime Minister Blair is pushing the
President to move more aggressively for a settlement of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict – something the European
nations wanted in Bush’s first term. Blair called for Bush
to appoint a special envoy to the Middle East to steer the two
parties toward negotiations that would result in two free,
democratic and peaceful states, one Jewish and one Palestinian.
Even before President Bush was reelected,
and before the Israeli government voted to withdraw from Gaza
and a small portion of the West Bank, and, of course, before
Yasser Arafat died, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom collected
thousands of signatures from American Jews calling on President
Bush to appoint a special Middle East envoy.
It would be a tragedy to miss this
opportunity to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian
The Open Letter that thousands of American
Jews signed calls for the President to vigorously pursue a
negotiated settlement, starting with the appointment of an
emissary of international stature who is empowered to bring both
sides back to the negotiating table.
Blair's Prize Is President's Commitment,
by Patrick E. Tyler, New York Times, November 13,
Time to Implement Bush's Vision, by Akiva
Eldar, Haaretz, November 15,
Power Struggle, by
James Graff, Time Europe, November 14,
Think Outside Box: Send Bill Clinton, by Newton N. Minow and Martha Minow, Chicago
Tribune, November 12,
U.S.-U.K. Joint Statement on
the Middle East Peace Process, Office of the Press Secretary, November 12,
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