Churches for Middle East Peace writes: Ackerman/Boustany letter to Rice supports fall meeting, U.S. efforts to achieve peace
Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Charles Boustany (R-LA) are circulating a sign-on letter to Secretary Rice commending her efforts to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by convening an international conference this fall and calling for additional steps to ensure its success.
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October 22, 2007
Julie Schumacher Cohen, Legislative Coordinator
The peace summit in Annapolis scheduled for later this fall presents a real opportunity for progress toward peace. This past Friday, October 19th, two important House members began circulating a letter - http://www.cmep.org/Legislative_Issues/Ackerman-Boustany_Letter_to_Rice.htm - to Secretary Rice in support of the international meeting and U.S. efforts to reinvigorate the peace process. The letter also suggests additional steps to ensure success, including financial assistance to the Palestinians.
The letter is a joint initiative by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and a longstanding Jewish-American leader in the House, and Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), one of four Arab-American House members. It sends a strong message of Congressional support for Israeli-Arab peacemaking. The "Dear Colleague" letter that Reps. Ackerman and Boustany are circulating to generate signers is titled, "Want to Support Israeli-Palestinian Peace? Worried About the Annapolis Meeting? Here's How to Help."
The letter to Sec. Rice points out the current "critical opportunity to stabilize the region by advancing a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians" and warns that a "still-born initiative could...exacerbate an already volatile situation in the Middle East." The letter supports "robust, hands-on U.S. leadership and diplomacy" before and after the meeting and also urges Sec. Rice to take "additional measures" to ensure success, particularly a reorientation and expansion of U.S. assistance.
The assistance would meet the needs of the Palestinian people, "for clean government, public order, economic opportunity, and salaried employment" and would include "long-term economic development and job creation programs." Reps. Ackerman and Boustany appeal to Sec. Rice to address "corruption and public safety in the P.A. while continuing to engage with Israel to coordinate a remittance schedule for Palestinian tax monies and to improve access and movement" to ensure that the aid will be effective. (Keep in mind that Congress holds American purse strings so this letter's recommendation on U.S. financial assistance is an important show of Congressional support for aid to the Palestinians.)
The letter concludes by emphasizing the importance of "resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, through the establishment of two states for two peoples" and pledging Congressional cooperation "to ensure that [the meeting in November] is a success". The full text of the letter can be viewed here - http://www.cmep.org/Legislative_Issues/Ackerman-Boustany_Letter_to_Rice.htm -
It is supported by collegial Jewish and Arab-American organizations, including Americans for Peace Now, the American Task Force on Palestine, the Arab American Institute, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, and the Israel Policy Forum.
Your Representative's signature on this letter to Sec. Rice will send a strong signal of Congressional support for efforts by the Administration to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Your Member of Congress needs to hear from you that you want them to do all that they can to ensure that the Annapolis meeting is a successful start of comprehensive peace negotiations.
Call or Email your Representative: Capitol Switchboard is (202) 224-3121 or use House Members' Email Forms - http://www.house.gov/writerep/
(If you have a personal relationship with staff of your Representative, please send them an email directly). Let CMEP know of your efforts: please email email@example.com
Churches for Middle East Peace
110 Maryland Ave. NE
Washington DC 20002