Brit Tzedek Calls on
Israel’s New Government to Make Peace Resolution Top
CHICAGO -- Brit Tzedek v'Shalom's executive
director, Diane Balser, issued the following statement in
response to the official formation of Israel's governing
"We welcome the news today that a new
Israeli government has been formed with the hope that, with the
protracted transition behind them, Israel's leaders will now
focus on making the pursuit of peace an immediate
We do not kid ourselves about the potential
challenges Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to form
a coalition with the far right elements of Israel's political
spectrum poses to the pursuit of a negotiated two-state
resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the heart of
our concerns are the racist policies espoused by its new foreign
minister, Avigdor Lieberman; the longstanding refusal of Prime
Minister Netanyahu to endorse a two-state solution; and reports
that Israel Beiteinu and Likud agreed to build in the E-1 area,
between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim, effectively dividing the
continuity of the northern and southern sections of the West
It is important, however, not to give in to
despair, as we cannot know what the new Israeli government will
do once in office. No one would have predicted that Menachem
Begin would make peace with Egypt, or that Yitzhak Rabin would
overcome a lifetime's animosity toward Palestinian nationalism.
In fact, each of the last five Prime Ministers, once in office,
embraced positions on peacemaking they had rejected during their
campaigns. We remain hopeful that the inclusion of the Labor
Party in Netanyahu's government may also temper the coalition's
more extremist elements. As President Obama said himself of the
new government and the prospects for peacemaking, 'It's not
easier than it was, but I think that it's just as
For our part, we pledge to redouble our
efforts, to work through our own democratic processes to
mobilize support within our community and among our political
leaders for substantive and sustained diplomatic engagement by
the Obama administration to resolve Israel's conflict with her
neighbors. We will be vigilant in urging our own government to
challenge any and all Israeli policies that would lessen the
likelihood of reaching a two-state solution or otherwise harm
the peace process.
"We bring to this promise a great sense of
urgency, as the accruing despair among Israeli and Palestinians
takes us further each day from this resolution, which would best
serve the national security interests of Israel and the United
Taking office, Netanyahu continues balancing
act by Uriel Heilman. JTA. March 31,
Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran—Or I Will
by Jeffrey Goldberg. The Atlantic. March 31, 2009.
Netanyahu: Israel is serious about peace by
Josh Mitnick. The Christian Science Monitor. March 31,
Netanyahu seeking Obama meeting in May U.S.
trip by Barak Ravid. Haaretz. March 19,
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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