Brit Tzedek Advocacy Days 2006

Your chance to personally engage Members of Congress and hear from prominent political leaders is coming up June 18-20 in Washington, DC. Read the complete agenda and register here.
Bush and Olmert: Negotiations are the Only Path to Peace


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is coming to Washington D.C. next week to meet with President Bush.  In anticipation of this historic visit, Brit Tzedek is delivering an open letter to both leaders encouraging them to return to the path of negotiations for the sake of a two-state solution. American Jewish leaders from across the country have signed on, including Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Susannah Heschel, Tony Kushner, and Rabbi Peter Knobel.

 

The letter appears in an ad in today's Forward. It was also covered in the JTA, Ynet News, and the Jewish Week.

 

Open Letter to President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert
from American Jews

As leaders in the American Jewish community, we write to express our conviction that a negotiated, two-state solution is still ultimately the only path to reaching a complete end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Only negotiated borders will be respected by all parties and lead to security and a lasting peace.

We applaud Israeli withdrawals from West Bank territories, which will facilitate the creation of a viable Palestinian state, but firmly believe that negotiations should occur before even provisional borders can be set. Unilateral initiatives that lessen or preclude the possibility of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel will not lead to the end of the conflict and will be detrimental to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Lay the groundwork for negotiations now.

Do not permit Hamas to stand in the way of diplomatic engagement.

 

The Israeli election results signaled that Israelis are ready for an end to the occupation and the conflict. Yet, recent polls have shown that three-quarters of Israelis prefer that disengagements from the West Bank be negotiated, rather than unilateral.

 

President Abbas has repeatedly expressed his willingness to negotiate. Indeed, the Hamas led Palestinian legislature must agree to renounce terrorism and recognize the State of Israel, but Hamas adopting these positions should not be preconditions that prevent Israel from entering into negotiations with President Abbas.  They must be outcomes of negotiation.

 

Prime Minister Olmert: You have expressed willingness to meet with President Abbas, and he with you. This is an opening.

 

President Bush: The United States should do everything possible to strengthen the standing of President Abbas and Palestinian moderates internationally and with the Palestinian people. Specifically, the U.S. should pursue a proactive policy of diplomatic engagement with President Mahmoud Abbas and other moderate Palestinian political figures, via both public diplomacy and back-channel discussions.

 

Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister: Unilateral actions can threaten the possibility of negotiations and could lead to the resumption of violence such as we have seen from Gaza since the disengagement. Don't let the cycle of violence resume. It is time for a genuine peace process that will result in two stable governments, internationally recognized borders, and neighboring societies at peace with one another.

    L'Shalom

    Rainer Waldman Adkins
    Diane Balser
    Theodore Bikel
    Rabbi Herb Bronstein
    Barbara Dobkin
    Rabbi Elliot Dorff
    Rabbi Hillel Gamoran
    Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer
    Marcia Freedman
    Debbie Friedman
    Rabbi John Friedman
    Nan Fink Gefen
    Sally Gottesman
    Susannah Heschel
    Arnold Hiatt
    Jennifer Klein
    Rabbi Peter Knobel
    Tony Kushner
    Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater
    Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
    Steven David Masters
    Hon. Abner J. Mikva
    Arthur Obermayer
    Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man
    Kathleen Peratis
    Letty Cottin Pogrebin
    Alan Sagner
    Rabbi Jack Stern
    Sidney Topol
    Al Vorspan
    Rabbi Arthur Waskow
    Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf


Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite 707
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206
info@btvshalom.org
www.btvshalom.org


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