Brit Tzedek Calls for US Intervention to Prevent Full-Scale Arab-Israeli War

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, today broadened its call for urgent and substantive US and other international diplomatic intervention to stem the tide of rapidly escalating violence, following Hezbollah's breach of the internationally recognized border between Israel and Lebanon yesterday. The United States' largest Jewish grassroots peace movement condemned Hezbollah's killing of eight Israeli soldiers on Wednesday and called for the immediate and safe return of two others who were abducted then and of Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was abducted by Hamas on June 25th.

Additionally, Diane Balser, Brit Tzedek's executive director, issued the following statement:

"Without vigilant US and international leadership, the ferocious cycle of violence in the region that we have witnessed over the past weeks, since the kidnapping of Shalit and Israel's subsequent military actions in the Gaza Strip, is in imminent danger of becoming a full-scale war that could engulf the entire region. It is incumbent on the US and the international community to act now or to risk that the year 2006 could soon bear the same historic resonance as 1967 and 1973.

As Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch said Tuesday in Cairo, "This is a very dangerous but important moment, when the responsibilities of all those who are sincere about finding a path toward peace will be tested."

Dwelling on questions of blame and who struck first is a dangerous distraction that ultimately does a profound disservice to those whose lives are being jeopardized and increasingly lost in this conflict.

The kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and the daily firing of rockets into Israel is unacceptable, and Israel has the right to use all legal measures to ensure the safety of its citizens. However, extreme retaliatory actions by Israel, such as bombing the only power station in Gaza and civilian targets in Lebanon, firing artillery barrages perilously close to civilians, subjecting the residents of Gaza to constant sonic booms at night, and sealing off the Gaza crossing points, are likely to exacerbate the situation, threaten the safe return of the abducted Israeli soldiers, and increase popular support for extremism by precipitating a Palestinian humanitarian crisis.

The history of this region has shown us time and again that peace will not be won through a war of attrition; for each soldier kidnapped and every military response that ensues, only loss accrues. It is time for the US and the international community to stand-up, so the increasing numbers of parties to this conflict can stand-down and can get back to the serious business of saving lives by negotiating a comprehensive, tenable resolution to this conflict."

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, is a national grassroots movement 34,000 strong, that educates and mobilizes American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
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Fax: (312) 341-1206

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