Peace in our Time?

August 14, 2007

Brit Tzedek Letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice

Filed under: Blogroll, Gaza, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Peace Now, Saudi, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 7:45 am

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 has sent the following letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday, August 10, 2007.

Related articles are listed below.

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 intelligence agency.

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 States.

Marcia Freedman

Related Articles

Hamas boycott criticised in UK by Ben Hall and Daniel Dombey. Financial Times. August 12, 2007.
George W. Bush’s Flawed Peace Plan by Shlomo Ben-Ami. Daily Star. August 9, 2007.
Getting Hamas Strategy Right by David Dreilinger and IPF Staff. Israel Policy Forum. August 9, 2007.
UN: Gaza faces economic disaster by Associated Press. Jerusalem Post. August 9, 2007.
Final Status Negotiations Now by MJ Rosenberg. IPF Friday. July 20, 2007.

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


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