|Diane Balser, Executive
The Need for a
Ceasefire: A Message From Marcia Freedman
and Diane Balser
Dear Friends of Brit Tzedek,
Thank you for your support of Brit Tzedek during these very
We greatly appreciate the response we have received to our action alerts, and for
the activities many
of you are leading in your local Jewish communities. Across the
country, Brit Tzedek supporters are spreading the message that
force will not solve the basic problems in the Middle East.
Where we stand
Our organization stands
firmly with the people of Israel in this hour of need. We decry
the rain of rockets and missiles that have killed and wounded
hundreds, terrorized all and fully disrupted the lives of one
third of Israel. At the same time, we mourn the loss of lives
and the destruction of infrastructure caused by Israel's
retaliatory air and artillery strikes in Lebanon and in Gaza.
In the early stage of Israel's response to Hezbollah in the
north, and to Hamas in Gaza, Brit Tzedek expressed concern that
that the immediate Israeli response was disproportionate and
could broaden and deepen hostilities, particularly on the
northern border. Unfortunately, our fears have been
As the crisis deepens, Brit Tzedek calls upon the US
government and the international community to intervene
immediately to establish a ceasefire on all fronts, including
the return of Israel's captured soldiers.
We welcome Secretary Rice's visit to the region as a sign of
increased US engagement. However, we are disappointed that
she has stated that the US will not be calling for a ceasefire
at this time.
Why a Ceasefire?
An immediate ceasefire
on all sides is necessary to end the loss of life and
destruction of infrastructure in Israel, Lebanon, and Gaza. In
addition, an immediate ceasefire will provide the conditions
under which a sustainable truce can be negotiated.
It is only through a sustainable truce, supported by the full
strength of the international community, that UN Resolution 1559
(calling for the disarmament of all non-government militias in
Lebanon) can be enforced and Israel's northern border crisis can
be resolved. Furthermore, international support for the
democratic Lebanese government is critical in order to
marginalize Hezbollah. We call for and welcome proposals
for an international peacekeeping force to assist in these
efforts - and the sooner, the better.
In addition, only international intervention can bring about
a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, leading to
negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
The conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza and
between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon are distinctly
different: the Gaza conflict is rooted in a national conflict
between two peoples over the final borders between them. The
conflict with Lebanon was precipitated by Hezbollah's unprovoked
breach of the internationally recognized and UN-certified border
that resulted in the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the
killing of eight.
The Israeli government's stated military objective is to
destroy or at least seriously weaken Hezbollah. Past history
indicates that whatever damage Israel can do to a non-state
enemy is temporary at best, but it is also bound to lead to such
unanticipated negative results as increased popular support for
Hezbollah and strengthening of their political position in
An immediate ceasefire is thus urgently needed. With such
heavy damage to civilian life and infrastructure in both Lebanon
and Gaza, the humanitarian crises deepen and become more urgent.
There are now over 350 dead and 700,000 displaced in Lebanon. In
Gaza there is growing hunger, disease, and desperation. Under
such circumstances, popular support in the Muslim world for
extremist anti-Israel views is sure to increase.
Brit Tzedek urges your support
in bringing this cycle of violence to an end. If you haven't
already done so, please sign our action alert now.
Brit Tzedek Welcomes House Resolution H. Con.
Brit Tzedek is gratified by the
introduction of House Resolution H. Con. Res. 450,
introduced by Representative Dennis Kucinich (OH) and
co-sponsored by 23 Members of Congress, which calls for an
immediate ceasefire and multi-party negotiations to resolve the
While we cannot endorse its specific provisions, namely the
call for multilateral negotiations between Israel and its Arab
neighbors, without specific inclusion of the Quartet or the UN,
we wholeheartedly support the spirit behind its introduction:
that the US must become engaged immediately to stem the rising
tide of violence in the Middle East.
We draw great hope from the Members of
Congress who have cosponsored this resolution
and have demonstrated that there is a growing voice for peace
and diplomacy in the House of Representatives.
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish
Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
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