US Administration: Let Your Actions Match Your Words

"This is an absolutely crucial time in the Middle East, and I heard in every single place that this isn't a time to stand still," Condoleeza Rice said of her tour last week to the Middle East. But until this Administration's actions match its words in ending the Palestinian humanitarian crisis and in facilitating substantive negotiations to resolve to the conflict, the possibility of mobilizing moderates in the region to ensure an end to nearly six decades of war through a two-state solution grows only more difficult.

Secretary Rice must act vigorously to set in action the plans she proposed last week, including proposals to fund the streamlining of Palestinian security forces and the reorganization and reconstruction of the Palestinian side of the main crossing for goods between Gaza and Israel, to enable transport of the upcoming harvest. She must also continue to pressure Congress, as was reported last week, to prevent the passage of legislation that would further weaken Palestinian moderates and restrict humanitarian aid flowing to NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, US involvement in negotiating the return of kidnapped Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the cessation of IDF military incursions into Gaza, and the end of Qassam rockets fired into southern Israel would represent a great step forward; it would bolster the opportunity to restart negotiations and the forces of moderation throughout the region.

Brit Tzedek also endorses key elements of the Quartet Statement on Middle East Peace (United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation, United States) listed below. Brit Tzedek calls upon the US as a signer, to fulfill its commitments to work for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

  • The Quartet stressed the urgent need to make progress towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

  • The Quartet welcomed the efforts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to form a Government of National Unity, in the hope that the platform of such a Government would reflect Quartet principles and allow for early engagement.

  • The Quartet underlined the urgent need for the parties to implement fully all aspects of the Agreement on Movement and Access. Accordingly, Rafah and all other passages should remain open, consistent with relevant agreements.

  • The Quartet noted that the resumption of transfers of tax and customs revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority would have a significant impact on the Palestinian economy. The Quartet encouraged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to consider resumption of such transfers via the Temporary International Mechanism to improve the economic and humanitarian conditions in the West Bank and Gaza.
Activity Stopped on Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Bill

Diane Balser, from the Brit Tzedek v'Shalom advocacy group, who worked Congress to block the bill, welcomed the administration's intervention and said that "it would be criminal" to stop funding to NGO's in Gaza, adding that as the humanitarian situation in the region worsened, the chances of achieving peace and an independent Palestinian state grew smaller.
 --Jerusalem Post, 9/30/2006

Shortly before she left for the Middle East, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice intervened to stop activity on the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. The bill, proposed to toughen sanctions against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority and increase restrictions on funding non-governmental organizations (NGO's), was passed in the House and Senate last spring after several months of intense debate. Brit Tzedek worked with our allies to defeat and modify the AIPAC-supported bill. Congress adjourned for recess without bringing the bill to conference committee, but we must remain vigilant so this bill does not move forward during the remainder of the congressional session which ends in December.

Read the complete article: US blocks further sanctions against PA, Jerusalem Post, 9/30/2006

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
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