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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 19, 2008

Brit Tzedek Welcomes Israel-Hamas Ceasefire

In response to this morning's onset of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire in Gaza, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom issued the following press release.

CHICAGO—Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, welcomes today's commencement of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, brokered by Egypt.

Diane Balser, Brit Tzedek’s executive director, issued the following statement today:

“For far too long, rockets have landed on towns in southern Israel, killing several, wounding many, and wreaking havoc across the entire country. At the same time Israeli military incursions into Gaza have resulted in hundreds of Palestinian civilian casualties, and the blockade on Gaza’s borders has worsened an already dire humanitarian situation. All the while, the policy of isolating Hamas and collectively punishing the Gazan population in order to pressure Hamas and to stop the rockets has proved a resounding failure.

An Israel-Hamas ceasefire, for which Brit Tzedek has consistently called over the past year, offers the best and likely only possibility for ending this vicious cycle of mutual devastation and for creating, in its wake, the political space necessary to move Israeli-Palestinian negotiations forward. We welcome reports that, if the ceasefire holds, Israel will begin to reopen the borders with Gaza as early as next week, that discussions over the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit will restart, and that Egypt will continue its efforts to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.

In facilitating the challenging deliberations that led to this ceasefire, the Egyptian government has set an important example of the power of international diplomacy in helping to resolve the conflict. We urge the United States, which has been disappointingly absent from this process, to not only support the ceasefire in words, but to take concrete steps to capitalize on this momentum to achieve progress with Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Finally, we commend the 52 Members of Congress who insightfully signed the Price-LaHood letter to President Bush only a month ago, calling on the U.S. to support almost the very same measures that have been enacted this week.”

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, is a national grassroots organization more than 38,000 strong that educates and mobilizes American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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