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Thursday, July 15, 2004

A Stop-the-Wall kinda gal

Communications Coordinator for "Colorado Jews for a Just Peace"
writes to Kerry:  "the wall must be interpreted as a provocation and a land grab"

This was sent to me by a member of CJJP who wishes to remain anonymous.
Dear Candidate Kerry: 

 Colorado Jews for a Just Peace is an organization of Jews largely in the Boulder/Denver area of Colorado that advocates a mutually negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Like many Jewish Americans – the majority, according to some polls -- we oppose Sharon’s militaristic, unilateralist policies because we believe his actions undermine Israel’s security. We do not consider criticism of the Sharon government to be anti-Israel. Rather, we believe that for Israel to secure a safe and prosperous future for itself it must come to an agreement with the Palestinians that will result in a Palestinian state which is also safe, secure, and prosperous.  
 
We believe that American leaders must take an active role to help bring about a negotiated, mutually accepted settlement. For instance, the U.S. government might offer support to the negotiators of the Geneva Accords.  
 
Regarding the current Sharon plan of unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, Sharon’s policies of wholesale demolition of homes and continuing assassinations demonstrate that there is no intention here to allow any kind of viable, independent Palestinian entity. For this policy to have any positive impact at all, it must be seen as MERELY A FIRST STEP in what will ultimately be PART OF A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO NATIONS that will define the ultimate borders of each state.  Unilateral action will fail to bring lasting peace and security to Israel or create a Palestinian State, unless there is a negotiated agreement between the two principals to create a "two-state solution."  UNILATERAL WITHDRAWAL IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A NEGOTIATED FINAL SETTLEMENT.  
 
Further, the “barrier” that the Sharon government is building must be interpreted as a provocation and a land grab, rather than as a measure to enhance Israeli security. If the purpose of the wall was really security, it could have been built along the “Green Line,” on Israeli land, and neither the international community nor the Palestinians would have had any legal or moral grounds for objection. As it is, the wall may perhaps prevent some act of terrorism against Israelis, but at the cost of further inflaming and prolonging the hatred that produces more terrorism.  
 
For negotiations to progress, the Palestinian leadership must again renounce violence, and the United States or the international community must assist the Palestinians in their efforts to prevent terrorism against Israelis. But Israelis must also eliminate "totally ending violence by Palestinians" as a precondition for entering negotiations, as this condition has the effect of holding the negotiation process hostage to extremists. Israel must recognize that the Palestinian leadership, which in reality is symbolized by and unquestionably includes President Arafat, needs tangible gains to bring to the Palestinian majority, who also want to live in peace, in order to undermine the appeal of both religious and secular militants.    
 
The last five years have seen the growth of several national Jewish organizations and numerous local groups in cities and towns all over this country that share these views. (Within Israel, there are many more.) We believe that the Democratic presidential candidate could inspire these Jewish-American voters by supporting a truly pro-Israel policy that is a clear alternative to the Bush/Sharon deadend strategy of simple military force. The Geneva Accords and other non-official initiatives demonstrate that peace is possible between Israelis and Palestinians, if only those holding positions of power would foster reconciliation rather than provocation and hostility. We urge you, as a candidate and as president, to take the historic, courageous, and creative path that will end this bloody conflict, bring security to both Israelis and Palestinians, and restore U.S. credibility and stable relations with the Arab world.  
 
Sincerely,      
 
Leslie Lomas,
Communications Coordinator
Colorado Jews for a Just Peace

CJJP has come a long way.  Only a year or so ago, they were holding a public vigil in memory of Rachel Corrie.