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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace



Israel, Palestinians Must Focus on Peace

Kansas City Star
November 19, 2005
By Allan Abrams

With his recent remarks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has given aid and comfort to those Muslims and Jews who believe that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict cannot be settled until the other side has been annihilated.

Despite Ahmadinejad’s claims, he represents neither the best interests nor the popular sentiment of the Palestinians, the majority of whom recognize that the viability of the future Palestinian state depends on its ability to coexist with Israel.

In fact, Palestinian Authority spokesperson Saeb Erekat was the first Arab leader to condemn Ahmadinejads remarks, stating: "We have recognized the state of Israel, and we are pursuing a peace process with Israel, and... we do not accept the statements of the president of Iran. This is unacceptable." Erekat’s sentiment is echoed by the majority of Palestinians, two–thirds of whom support the recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, commensurate with the recognition of a Palestinian state alongside it, according to a September 2005 poll conducted by the highly respected Palestinian Center for Policy and Research.

Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, a national grass-roots organization of more than 30,000 American Jews who support a negotiated two-state solution, urges the leadership of Arab states who recognize and maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, including Jordan and Egypt, to follow the Palestinian Authoritys example. That is to immediately repudiate Ahmadinejads statements and move decisively to isolate the extremism to which moderates the world over are vulnerable.

We likewise renew our call to the U.S. government to appoint a high–level American envoy who will work to defuse the growing tension between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and to bring the two parties back to the negotiating table. Only a peace negotiated between the two sides and actively supported by the United States can decisively change the climate that made the Iranian presidents statement possible.

Allan Abrams is a member of the national board of directors and chairperson of the Kansas City chapter of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom. He lives in Prairie Village.
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