Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza
Due to the grave humanitarian situation
in Gaza as well as the welcome increase in US engagement in
Middle East diplomacy, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom sent the following
letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday,
August 10, 2007. Related articles are listed
Dear Secretary Rice:
On behalf of the 36,000 supporters of Brit
Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, we
write to commend your progress towards the planned international
conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to express
several concerns we hope you will consider as you move forward.
Brit Tzedek v’Shalom is a grassroots organization that
educates and mobilizes American Jews in support of a negotiated
two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The U.S.-led international conference,
announced by President Bush in his speech on July 16th and set
for this fall, represents a significant step forward on the path
to the creation of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state in the
West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. We are optimistic
that by involving regional and international players, in
particular Saudi Arabia, and by building upon the Arab League
Peace Initiative, real progress can be made towards that
goal. We welcome your recent statements that the
conference will be more than a mere "photo op," and urge you to
ensure the seriousness of its content by including discussion of
the most fundamental issues regarding the conflict: borders,
settlements, refugees, and Jerusalem.
We further welcome your renewed support for
the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas, by
ending the boycott of the P.A. and resuming sorely needed
economic, humanitarian and development aid to the Palestinian
people. Yet, we are deeply concerned by the U.S. policy,
which you reiterated on your most recent trip to the region, to
ignore and isolate Hamas. This deepens the divide
between Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, undermining the
legitimacy and viability of peace negotiations and raising
greater risk of attacks on Israel.
Brit Tzedek is gravely concerned by the
continued closings of border crossings in and out of Gaza, which
exacerbate already desperate economic and humanitarian
conditions for a population at risk of becoming virtually 100%
aid dependent. The international community has already
acknowledged that the hopelessness and despair produced by
such conditions, creates a climate ideal for the support of
extremist groups. Therefore, in the name of ensuring
humanitarian treatment of the Palestinian people, please
consider a policy of minimal, pragmatic contact with those
Palestinians in control of the Gaza side of these border
crossings who may be affiliated with Hamas. Without such
contact, we fear a dangerous resurgence of attacks against
Israelis and renewed factional violence in Gaza. This
approach has also been suggested by former Secretary of State
Colin Powell and Efraim Halevy, former chief of Israel's Mossad
We recognize the complexity of your mission
and the many challenges that lie ahead. We thank you for
consideration of our message which reflects the input and
insights of our national Jewish leadership and grassroots
volunteers from communities across America dedicated to the
well-being and security of Israel and the United
boycott criticised in UK by Ben Hall and Daniel Dombey.
Financial Times. August 12, 2007.
W. Bush’s Flawed Peace Plan by Shlomo Ben-Ami. Daily
Star. August 9, 2007.
Hamas Strategy Right by David Dreilinger and IPF
Staff. Israel Policy Forum. August 9, 2007.
Gaza faces economic disaster by Associated Press. Jerusalem
Post. August 9, 2007.
Status Negotiations Now by MJ Rosenberg. IPF Friday. July
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for
Justice and Peace
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