is understandable that most of America's Jewish community was
sympathetic to Israel when its soldiers were captured by
Hezbollah across its international border. As the war went on,
however, American Jewish opinion was not uniform. Some American
Jews found themselves in active opposition to the Israeli
government's approach to resolving the crisis fearing that a
heavy handed militaristic policy would prove counter-productive.
We looked on anxiously at the immensity of the destruction. In
the end, as we had encouraged, world leaders achieved a
diplomatic breakthrough to halt the crisis. With the recent
passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, we can only hope that
five weeks of bloodshed in northern Israel and Lebanon is now
finally over. So where do we go from here?
by Diane Balser, Executive Director
v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, represents
more than 34,000 in the American Jewish community for whom
Israel's well-being is of paramount importance - and who
recognize that right now, the US government must work in
coordination with the international community to implement the
UN ceasefire and get Israel and her neighbors back on track
toward a comprehensive regional settlement. Right now this is
the highest form of support for the Israeli people.
reject and condemn all unprovoked attacks on Israel, and mourn
deeply the many Israelis who have been killed to date. Yet it
became clear to me that Israel's offensive in Lebanon was far
too destructive to be in the country's best interests.
the civilian death toll mounted and hundreds of thousands of
Lebanese were left homeless, Hezbollah's capacity to fire
missiles on northern Israel was not diminished. Hezbollah was
not pounded into submission. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis
were internally displaced while many of those that remained
lived in bomb shelters for weeks on end. Dozens of the north's
residents have been killed. Meanwhile, the people of Lebanon,
the Palestinians, as well as Arabs across the region, rallied in
support of Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
simple truth is that from the beginning this war was not
winnable. We could have known this from the Israeli experience
in the occupied territories. Forty years of militarism against
the Palestinians hasn't worked there either. Neither has
The only option left is
A negotiated, two-state resolution of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict such as Brit Tzedek has been
advocating since the height of the al-Aksa intifada is the only
solution that will truly bring an end to the violence. It will
also remove the purported rationale behind Hezbollah's
Much progress toward peace has been achieved
in the past. The Geneva Accord, the Taba agreement, and the Arab League resolution of 2002 already
constitute the fundamental aspects of an eventual two-state
solution and the essential ingredients for a comprehensive
What is more, Israel is no stranger
to negotiated solutions. It shares long, international borders
with both Egypt and Jordan - and because the countries share
bi-lateral peace treaties, these borders have been peaceful for
Now we need to work to make sure that UNSCR 1701
is a step in the direction of a comprehensive peace. It won't be
easy, and it won't be quick, but only a genuine negotiation
process will bring an end to decades of horrific carnage in
Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. And that,
whether the US or Israeli governments choose to admit it or not,
will depend on a determined and ongoing US diplomatic
We in Brit Tzedek stand for Israel - for that
reason, we stand for peace.
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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