Jewish Peace Group Seconds President's Declaration: "The Time is Now"
Brit Tzedek to Bush: Actions Must Match Words to Resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

CHICAGO—Diane Balser, interim executive director of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the country’s largest and most vibrant grassroots Jewish peace movement, issued the following statement today in response to President Bush’s first visit as president to Israel and the West Bank this week, during which he met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:

“President Bush’s sentiment that “the time is now” for concerted efforts by Israeli, Palestinian and American leadership to restart substantive peace negotiations is dead-on, but it is long past time that the president’s actions match his words. If the president is to achieve his laudable goal of reaching a negotiated, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the end of 2008, it will take more than “vision” to overcome the last seven years of inaction.

The United States can play an invaluable role in renewing negotiations by urging both parties to comply with their respective commitments under the Roadmap in order to establish the seriousness of purpose with which each returns to the negotiating table. We welcome President Bush’s appointment of Lt. Gen. William Fraser to monitor Israeli and Palestinian implementation of these commitments.

On the Israeli side, Roadmap compliance entails an immediate halt to settlement expansion -- without distinction between those in East Jerusalem and those in the West Bank, as stated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before she left to accompany the president on this trip -- and the removal of all illegal outposts.

On the Palestinian side, compliance must include a concerted effort to curtail and ultimately end violence and to dismantle terrorist infrastructure within the West Bank. However, Gaza, which is currently controlled by Hamas, represents a distinct challenge.  We believe that in order to end the qassam rocket attacks launched from Gaza into southern Israel and to prevent the need for a full-scale IDF invasion, the United States must urge Israel to seriously investigate the possibility of reaching a cease-fire with Hamas.”


References

Bush Confident on Mideast Peace. By Steven Lee Meyers. The New York Times. January 10, 2008.

Israel accepts Bush's push for peace deal: official. Reuters. January 10, 2008.

Bush Predicts Mideast Peace Treaty by Anne Gearan. AP. January 10, 2008.

President Bush Discusses Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. Office of the Press Secretary. The White House.  January 10, 2008.

President Bush and Palestinian Authority President Abbas Participate in Joint Press Availability. Office of the Press Secretary. The White House. January 10, 2008.

President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert Participate in Joint Press Availability. Office of the Press Secretary. The White House.  January 9, 2008.


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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