Congress Must Support Aid to New Palestinian Leadership

 Dear friends of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom,

Rational voices of American Jews need to be heard -- now.   
 
As supporters of Israel who believe that there is a real opportunity to move  towards negotiations that would result in peace between a secure Israel and a stable Palestinian state, we ask you to call or write to your Congressional Representatives to urge them to support the Bush Administration's proposal for $200 million in emergency aid to the Palestinians that will be debated tomorrow -- Tuesday, March 8th by the House Appropriations Committee. Congress has been slow to realize that major positive changes have occurred in the Israeli-Palestinian political reality in the last few months; we must make it clear that the American Jewish community  strongly supports this new direction.
 
In his State of the Union address, President Bush announced that he would ask Congress to approve $350 million "to support Palestinian political, economic and security reforms." This week, Congress will begin consideration of a proposal to send $200 million of this sum to the Palestinians in the form of emergency aid, while the remaining $150 million will be proposed in the President's 2006 fiscal budget. Unfortunately, Representatives Anthony Weiner (D-NY), C.L. "Butch" Otter (R-ID) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY) are seeking cosponsors for legislation that would, in effect, ban aid to the Palestinians by placing onerous conditions on it. Please call or write to your national representatives to let them know that we, as American Jews, support the aid to the Palestinians, as we support the new momentum toward peace in the Middle East.
 
The $200 million in emergency Economic Support Funds for the Palestinians is composed of:

  • $60 million for economic revitalization post-disengagement, with all projects implemented by U.S.-selected contractors or private voluntary organizations (PVOs),

  • $90 million to develop the economic, social, political and security infrastructure for a future Palestinian State, again to be implemented by U.S.-selected contractors or PVOs, and

  • $50 million to fund the construction of high-tech terminals in Israel's security barrier designed to speed up the inspection of Palestinian people and cargo.
Blocking this aid would undermine the new Palestinian leadership which has declared itself in favor of nonviolence and has taken concerted steps to end attacks against Israel.
 
We urge you to respond to this Action Alert and urge your Representative to support the Bush Administration's proposal for $200 million in emergency aid to the Palestinians. We encourage you to
take action by March 14, 2005.

Please share this Action Alert with family, friends, and colleagues, and tell them about Brit Tzedek v'Shalom.

B'shalom,

Steve Masters, Chair of Advocacy and Public Policy
Diane Balser, Vice President and Co-Chair of Advocacy and Public Policy 


Send a letter or call your Congressional Representative.

Sample Letter:

Subject: Congress Must Support Aid to New Palestinian Leadership

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

As an American Jew, I strongly urge you support the President's $200 million Economic Support Funds for the Palestinians and to oppose the efforts of Congressmen Weiner, Otter and Crowley to introduce legislation that would in effect ban this aid to the Palestinians by placing onerous conditions on it.

Blocking this aid would undermine the new Palestinian leadership which has taken concerted steps to end the violence against Israel.

In a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, David Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, stated clearly that U.S. financial assistance to the Palestinian people since Oct. 1, 1993, has all been "completely transparent and fully accountable."

Thus, the efforts of Congressmen Weiner, Otter and Crowley to amend the financial assistance proposal to withhold the funds "until the PA's actions demonstrate accountability and sustained progress towards peace" are unnecessary. As Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) commented in the Forward, "If you want to ensure that there will not be a peace process, then you attach enough strings (to the aid package) that you strangle the process."

Lasting peace can only come through a just negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that those who support Israel and support U.S. goals for that negotiated settlement, will support the Administration's efforts to help build a sustainable and stable Palestinian state next to a secure Israeli state.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

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What's At Stake:
This is a crucial time for American Jews to speak out about Congressional aid to the Palestinians. The President has proposed a much-needed $200 million Economic Support Funds for the Palestinians. Congressmen Weiner, Otter and Crowley have announced their intention to introduce legislation that would in effect ban this aid to the Palestinians by placing onerous conditions on it. Blocking this aid would undermine the new Palestinian leadership which has taken concerted steps to end the violence against Israel.

It is up to us, as American Jews who strongly support Israel, to tell Congress that we believe that this Palestinian aid is not only good for the Palestinians, but also for Israel and the United States.

We at Brit Tzedek v’Shalom believe this it is essential for our voices to be heard. Non-Jewish Congressmen in particular need to hear American Jewish voices supporting the Palestinian aid. Only then might they be convinced that in doing so, they also support Israel.

Additional Links:

Top Jewish Council Urges Congress Not To Block Plan for Palestinian Aid, by Ori Nir. Forward, March 4, 2005.  

Campaign Expiration Date:
March 14, 2005


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