Marcia Freedman, President
 
Diane Balser, Executive Director

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 difficult times.

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.

Mideast Crisis Resources

  • New: Talking Points on "Why a Ceasefire?"

  • Take Action: Tell Bush and Congress: US Diplomacy Now

  • Mideast Crisis Action Steps

  • Mideast Crisis Resource Page
  • 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 realized. 

    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 Lebanon.

    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.

    B'shalom,

    Diane Balser
    Executive Director

    Marcia Freedman
    President


    Brit Tzedek Welcomes House Resolution H. Con. Res. 450
    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 Mideast crisis.

    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 707
    Chicago, IL 60603
    Phone: (312) 341-1205
    Fax: (312) 341-1206
    info@btvshalom.org
    www.btvshalom.org


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