A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
Senator Feinstein Letter to Secretary Clinton Supporting Administration Proximity TalksSenator Dianne Feinstein (CA) is urging her colleagues in the Senate to sign on to her letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supporting the recently launched Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks and the Administration's bold leadership towards a two-state solution. Ask your Senator to sign this letter here.
May XX, 2010
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Madame Secretary:
As steadfast supporters of Israel and the U.S.-Israeli relationship, we are writing to express our support for the start of proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on ending the Israeli-Palestinian dispute with the active participation of U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell. We applaud the Obama administration's commitment to re-start the stalled peace process and play a lead role in securing an agreement.
We strongly believe that a permanent peace agreement--with two states, living side by side in peace and security--can only be achieved with the United States bringing the parties together and driving them to a settlement. We must commit ourselves to offering ideas and solutions to bridge the gaps on the most intractable issues.
Indeed, a two-state solution as part of a comprehensive Middle East peace is critical to our national security interests as it will have a profound impact on peace and stability in the region. It will solidify Israel's identity as a Jewish, democratic state by giving it safe and secure borders. A comprehensive peace will facilitate cooperation with Arab states on combating terror and stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan. It will spur economic growth and prosperity and give hope to the people of the region who have dealt with conflict, fear, and mistrust for decades.
There is no doubt the road to a peace agreement will be challenging. The obstacles are many.
Control over the Palestinian territories remains split, with Fatah in control of the West Bank, and Hamas, which is designated as a foreign terrorist organization, having seized power in the Gaza Strip. Hamas and Hezbollah possess--and have used--weapons against Israeli population centers. Recent reports indicate that Hezbollah may have recently procured advanced rockets that could pose an even greater security threat to Israel. Incitement to violence continues to undermine peace and must also be stopped. While the Israeli Government has announced a moratorium on settlements activity, for too long the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermined confidence.
Despite these and other obstacles, we have no choice but to press ahead.
While we support the start of proximity talks as way to get negotiations moving again, we believe that, ultimately, direct negotiations are the only way to achieve a two-state solution. We urge all sides to transition to direct talks as soon as possible. Delays could embolden the enemies of peace and put an agreement out of reach. We applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu for committing to direct talks and we urge you to press President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to reciprocate.
In his statement following his appointment as Special Envoy, Senator Mitchell said: "Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings; they can be ended by human beings." We could not agree more. American leadership, determination, and hard work are needed to bring these two peoples--Israelis and Palestinians--together to find a lasting peace.
We appreciate your attention to this request and we look forward to hearing from you.
[signatories not yet known]