Brit Tzedek issued
the following press release today. Please see below for
additional resources on the Saudi peace
GROUP SEES OPENING:
CHICAGO—Diane Balser, national chair
of advocacy for Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the country’s
largest and most vibrant Jewish grassroots peace movement,
welcomed the Arab League’s unanimous endorsement of the
Saudi Arabian peace initiative, calling it “an historic
opportunity” for the U.S. Administration to revive
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and end the conflict between
Israel and her neighbors.
In response to the Arab League’s vote
yesterday, Balser issued the following
ADVOCACY UPDATE: Brit Tzedek and
pro-peace forces succeed in modifying Nelson-Ensign letter that
called for banning US contact with Palestinian
here to read more and thank those senators who
didn't sign on!
“We applaud the Arab League’s
unanimous endorsement of the Saudi Arabian peace initiative that
proposes a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict as an opening for achieving a comprehensive peace with
all Arab countries. We emphatically urge the U.S.
Administration to seize this historic opportunity to work in
partnership with the Arab League to revive Israeli-Palestinian
negotiations toward the end of achieving a peaceful resolution
to Israel’s conflict with her
In particular, we welcome the endorsement
of this proposal by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas, who is empowered by the new unity government to negotiate
a resolution to this conflict, which must, in turn, be ratified
by a popular referendum. Although we are disappointed by Hamas
member Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s
abstention, we believe that ultimately the strong and consistent
support of the Palestinian people for a negotiated, two-state
resolution will prevail.
We strongly support the fundamental
principles of the Saudi Arabian proposal, including the
recognition of Israel and its right to exist in peace and
security in exchange for the establishment of a viable
Palestinian state alongside Israel and a subsequent end to the
occupation. We recognize that there are problematic aspects of
the Saudi proposal but believe that they can be addressed
through direct negotiations. Therefore, we ask the U.S.
Administration to show flexibility in supporting this initiative
as the basis for restarting negotiations, allowing the specifics
to be worked out by the parties.
The greatest value of the
Saudi peace initiative is that it marshals Arab support for
reviving meaningful peace negotiations, a goal which Secretary
Rice herself declared earlier in the week to be a “top
priority” of the Bush administration. We welcome the
Secretary’s promise this week to renew U.S. diplomatic
engagement in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We
commend her on initiating bi-monthly meetings between Prime
Minister Olmert and President Abbas to substantively address the
most pressing concerns on the ground. We urge the
Secretary not to squander the opportunity created by the Saudi
initiative. We hope that she will follow through quickly on her
plan to establish benchmarks to measure progress, and will go
further to put in place concrete mechanisms to monitor and
ensure compliance. Sustained and serious U.S. diplomatic
engagement would greatly build confidence and reinvigorate
substantial negotiations between the
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish
Alliance for Justice and Peace, is a national grassroots
organization more than 36,000 strong, that educates and
mobilizes American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state
resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
on the Saudi peace initiative:
Arab leaders urge Israel, world to take peace
offer, by Wafa Amr and Andrew Hammond. Reuters.
March 28, 2007.
The best opportunity in years, by Yossi
Alpher. Bitterlemons.org. March 26, 2007.
What are we waiting for? by Zalman
Shapira. Haaretz. March 29, 2007.
A welcome summit in Riyadh, by Haaretz
editorial. Haaretz. March 28, 2007.
Two Tracks, One Destination, by David
Dreilinger and IPF Staff. Israel Policy Forum.
March 29, 2007.
Mideast Leaders Agree to Meet Biweekly, by
Helene Cooper. New York Times. March 27, 2007.
Remarks After Meetings With Prime Minister Olmert and President
Abbas. U.S. State
Department. March 27, 2007.
Brit Tzedek and pro-peace forces succeed in
modifying Nelson-Ensign letter! Thank those senators who
didn't sign on!
Over the past several
weeks, hundreds of Brit Tzedek supporters and chapters contacted
their senators asking them NOT to sign the Nelson-Ensign letter
to Secretary Rice – a letter that originally called for
banning U.S. contact with all Palestinian officials, including
moderates like President Abbas and Salam
Due in part to pressure
brought to bear by Brit Tzedek, Senators Nelson and Ensign
modified their letter to address some of our objections!
While we greatly appreciated these changes, which permitted US
contact with President Abbas, the revised letter still
banned engagement with other non-Hamas Palestinian moderates in
the unity government. At a rare moment of optimism in
the Middle East, shutting off contact with moderates is not
in the US's or Israel's interests.
In the end, 79 senators
signed the letter. But despite the high number, many
offices waited a considerable amount of time before signing and
our activism has started a fresh debate over what it means to be
pro-Israel in the U.S. Senate.
Senator(s) is one of the 21 who did NOT sign, please call or
email them to say thank you for NOT signing the Nelson-Ensign
Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
(just ask for your senator)
Non-signers to be
IN: Lugar (R)
MA: Kennedy (D), Kerry
MO: McCaskill (D)
NH: Gregg (R), Sununu (R)
(D), Domenici (R)
OH: Voinovich (R)
Johnson (D) [out due to illness]
UT: Hatch (R)
VT: Sanders (I), Leahy
VA: Warner (R), Webb (D)
WY: Enzi (R), Thomas
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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