Join Brit Tzedek v'Shalom on Sunday, December 10 at 2pm EST for a Town Hall Conference Call on "The Baker-Hamilton Commission and its Implications for Arab-Israeli Peace" with Mara Rudman, former deputy national security advisor to President Clinton.  Click here for call details.

Click here for the complete Baker-Hamilton Commission report.

Click here for excerpts from the Baker-Hamilton Commission report related to Arab-Israeli peace.


BRIT TZEDEK V'SHALOM LAUDS BAKER-HAMILTON RECOMMENDATIONS

Chicago - Marcia Freedman, president of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, praised the recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton report regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as "a victory" for the American Jewish peace movement. The report's findings validate Brit Tzedek's longstanding position that direct negotiations based on the principle of "land for peace" and the establishment of a just and viable Palestinian state are the only means for meeting Israel's security needs in the region.

In response to the report's release this morning, Freedman stated:

"The Baker-Hamilton report's incisive and timely call for 'sustained' US political leadership in facilitating a comprehensive resolution to both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the larger Israeli-Arab conflict is a victory for the American Jewish peace movement.  We call on President Bush to immediately reverse his longstanding and dangerous policy of inaction and to enact the Commission's recommendations by promoting bilateral and multi-lateral regional negotiations, for which the willingness to participate is the sole precondition."

The Baker-Hamilton Commission is to be lauded for recognizing that there is no military solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict.  Most importantly, the report restores the starting point of negotiations as U.N. resolutions 242 and 338, setting forth the basis of negotiations as 'and for peace and the end point as the establishment of a just Palestinian state alongside Israel.' Finally, the Baker-Hamilton report creates a framework for the start of direct negotiations with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians that are goal-driven and not encumbered by unrealistic prerequisites for diplomatic engagement.

The conflagration last summer between Israel and Hezbollah provides important evidence not only of the report's findings that 'when the political process breaks down there will be violence on the ground,' but also of the capacity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to spark further violence that could engulf the entire region.

We stand behind the Commission members' commitment to the idea that no Administration will ever abandon Israel and its understanding that 'The United States does its ally Israel no favors in avoiding direct involvement to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.' We believe that the Baker-Hamilton report offers a concrete proposal for critically rethinking what is necessary to do in order to truly stand behind Israel in her quest for peace and security and to achieve stability in the broader Middle East." 

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, is a national grassroots organization 35,000 strong, that educates and mobilizes American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 


TOWN HALL CONFERENCE CALL WITH MARA RUDMAN
The Baker-Hamilton Commission and its Implications
for Arab-Israeli Peace


Sunday, December 10 at 2:00 PM ET (1 CT/12 MT/11 PT)

The Baker-Hamilton Commission, formally known as the Iraq Study Group, released its report today.  The report's findings reaffirm Brit Tzedek's longstanding conviction that direct negotiations are the only means to achieve peace. Join Brit Tzedek for a call with Mara Rudman, former deputy national security advisor to President Clinton, to discuss the implications of the Commission's report on Arab-Israeli peace.

 TO JOIN: Dial 1-641-696-6699 within 5 minutes of the call's designated start time and then enter the access code 123432#. You are responsible only for domestic long distance charges.

QUESTIONS: The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session open to all participants. Please send your questions before or during the call to
townhall@btvshalom.org.


SPEAKER BIO

Mara Rudman is currently a Senior Partner at Quorum Strategies - an internationally focused strategic consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. - Mara Rudman has years of experience in government and the private sector. She served most recently as Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning at the Center for American Progress, where she remains a Senior Fellow, focusing on national security and foreign policy issues, with a particular emphasis on the Middle East. Earlier, she was Counselor, Vice President, and General Counsel at The Cohen Group.

Previously, she was deputy national security advisor to President Clinton where she coordinated and directed activities within the National Security Council and among the various federal departments and agencies with defense and foreign policy responsibilities, and in that capacity, played a role on Middle East peace efforts. From 1993-1997, she worked as chief counsel to the House International Relations Committee Chairman Lee Hamilton. Prior to her committee positions, Rudman was a litigation associate at Hogan & Hartson. Early in her career, Rudman clerked for the Honorable Stanley Marcus, now of the Eleventh Circuit, in the Southern District of Florida.

Rudman serves on the board of advisors of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, as a member of the Aspen Institute Middle East Strategy Group, and as an Aspen Institute Crown Fellow. She is also a frequent media commentator, appearing on CNN, FOX, BBC, NPR, and in print media. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College summa cum laude and her Juris Doctorate cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal.


EXCERPTS FROM THE BAKER-HAMILTON COMMISSION REPORT RELATED TO ARAB-ISRAELI PEACE

From the Executive Summary:

The United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals directly with the Arab- Israeli conflict and regional instability. There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel's right to exist), and Syria...

From Section II, "A New Way Forward", Part A- "The External Approach: Building an International Consensus"

1. The New Diplomatic Offensive

Iraq cannot be addressed effectively in isolation from other major regional issues, interests, and unresolved conflicts. To put it simply, all key issues in the Middle East--the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Iran, the need for political and economic reforms, and extremism and terrorism--are inextricably linked.  In addition to supporting stability in Iraq, a comprehensive diplomatic offensive--the New Diplomatic Offensive-- should address these key regional issues. By doing so, it would help marginalize extremists and terrorists, promote U.S. values and interests, and improve America's global image...

4. The Wider Regional Context

The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel's right to exist), and particularly Syria--which is the principal transit point for shipments of weapons to Hezbollah, and which supports radical Palestinian groups.  

The United States does its ally Israel no favors in avoiding direct involvement to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. For several reasons, we should act boldly:

  • There is no military solution to this conflict.

  • The vast majority of the Israeli body politic is tired of being a nation perpetually at war.

  • No American administration--Democratic or Republican--will ever abandon Israel.

  • Political engagement and dialogue are essential in the Arab-Israeli dispute because it is an axiom that when the political process breaks down there will be violence on the ground.

  • The only basis on which peace can be achieved is that set forth in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and in the principle of "land for peace."

  • The only lasting and secure peace will be a negotiated peace such as Israel has achieved with Egypt and Jordan. This effort would strongly support moderate Arab governments in the region, especially the democratically elected government of Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas.

RECOMMENDATION 13: There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria, and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

RECOMMENDATION 14: This effort should include--as soon as possible--the unconditional calling and holding of meetings, under the auspices of the United States or the Quartet (i.e., the United States, Russia, European Union, and the United Nations), between Israel and Lebanon and Syria on the one hand, and Israel and Palestinians (who acknowledge Israel's right to exist) on the other. The purpose of these meetings would be to negotiate peace as was done at the Madrid Conference in 1991, and on two separate tracks--one Syrian/Lebanese, and the other Palestinian.

RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that negotiated peace should be:

  • Syria's full adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of August 2006, which provides the framework for Lebanon to regain sovereign control over its territory.

  • Syria's full cooperation with all investigations into political assassinations in Lebanon, especially those of Rafik Hariri and Pierre Gemayel.

  • A verifiable cessation of Syrian aid to Hezbollah and the use of Syrian territory for transshipment of Iranian weapons and aid to Hezbollah. (This step would do much to solve Israel's problem with Hezbollah.)

  • Syria's use of its influence with Hamas and Hezbollah for the release of the captured Israeli Defense Force soldiers.

  • A verifiable cessation of Syrian efforts to undermine the democratically elected government of Lebanon.

  • A verifiable cessation of arms shipments from or transiting through Syria for Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups.

  • A Syrian commitment to help obtain from Hamas an acknowledgment of Israel's right to exist.

  • Greater Syrian efforts to seal its border with Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 16: In exchange for these actions and in the context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israelis should return the Golan Heights, with a U.S. security guarantee for Israel that could include an international force on the border, including U.S. troops if requested by both parties.

RECOMMENDATION 17: Concerning the Palestinian issue, elements of that negotiated peace should include:

  • Adherence to UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and to the principle of land for peace, which are the only bases for achieving peace.

  • Strong support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority to take the lead in preparing the way for negotiations with Israel.

  • A major effort to move from the current hostilities by consolidating the cease-fire reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis in November 2006.

  • Support for a Palestinian national unity government.

  • Sustainable negotiations leading to a final peace settlement along the lines of President Bush's two- state solution, which would address the key final status issues of borders, settlements, Jerusalem, the right of return, and the end of conflict.


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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