The following open letter was presented in NYC to the Israeli Consulate and then the PLO offices on May 11th, 2002.
An Open Letter for Delivery to the Consulate of Israel in New York and the Mission of the Palestinian Authority to the United States
May 11, 2002
We have gathered today in front of your respective buildings to amplify the message of the Coalition for Peace which is rallying in Rabin Plaza in Tel Aviv at this same moment.
As American Jews and Zionists affiliated with Meretz USA, Habonim Dror, Hashomer Hatzair, and the Labor Zionist Alliance, we have steadfastly advocated a just, negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians which would establish security for the State of Israel and its citizens and the creation of a sovereign Palestine whose borders and security would be based on UN resolutions 242 and 338. This continues to be our fervent hope.
We have assembled to say to you, and to our fellow Americans, that the breakdown of the Oslo peace process and the violent confrontation between Palestinian factions and the Palestinian Authority, on the one hand, and the State of Israel on the other, must end.
The cause of Palestinian statehood has been done inestimable damage by those Palestinians who have conducted, condoned, financed, or failed to stop suicide bombings of Israeli civilians, Arab and Jew alike. We call upon the Palestinian Authority to immediately, vigorously, consistently, and demonstrably act to inhibit and end all such attacks. While substantial majorities of Israelis (and American Jews) support the creation of a Palestinian state, this democratic consensus will be understandably subordinate to the need for physical security and the belief that those who represent the Palestinian people and their aspirations mean Israel and the Israeli people no harm.
That is a daunting task, but it is essential and urgent. We also believe that Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is wrong: a provocation to the Palestinian people and a waste of Israeli resources and lives. Israel must, immediately and demonstrably, cease building new settlements and publicly commit itself to withdrawal from all settlements in Gaza and all outlying settlements in the West Bank, save those which were to be incorporated into Israel in exchange for Israeli territory as posited in the Taba negotiations of 2001. This too, is a daunting task, but it is essential and urgent.
Because both parties have failed to end the violence, we believe that a third-party peacekeeping force, preferably staffed and led by Americans, must be placed on the ground immediately to separate the parties and help guarantee the security of civilians on both sides.
We pray for the peace of Jerusalem - an open city- which can serve as the capital of two nations if the leaders of Israel and Palestine show the wisdom and courage which their two peoples deserve.
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Page last updated May 13th, 2002