2 US Jewish Organizations Urge Israel-Hamas talks, Ceasefire in Gaza/ Sderot Crisis

Two American Jewish organizations with important connections into mainstream Jewry along with an independent stance on Israeli-Palestinian issues have sent out major statements on the Gaza-Sderot crisis that call for negotiations between the Israeli government and Hamas, looking toward a ceasefire and an end to the blockade.

Tell Bush: Support Israel-Hamas Ceasefire, End Gaza Blockade Now!

It is impossible to read the news coming out of Gaza and Israel over the last several days and not be convinced that something has gone terribly wrong.

This week, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flooded out of Gaza through the recently breached border crossing with Egypt in order to purchase food, medicine, cement, mattresses, and household supplies. Last week, over two hundred Qassam rockets were launched by Palestinian militants into Sderot and elsewhere in Israel's northern Negev. In response, Israel sealed Gaza's borders, blocking access by its population to essential fuel and humanitarian supplies.

This escalation of violence and punishment must end, and for that to happen, the U.S. must intervene. Please contact President Bush today to demand urgent U.S. action to encourage an Israel-Hamas ceasefire and the reopening of border crossings into Gaza to allow for the regular transport of fuel and humanitarian supplies!

The rocket attacks against Israel cannot be tolerated. At the same time, Israel's response, which amounts to collective punishment against the entire population of Gaza, has created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, resulting in power outages, water shortages, and a lack of critical medical supplies.

In addition, Israel's actions in Gaza are counterproductive to their intended goal of putting pressure on Hamas and ending the Qassam rockets attacks on southern Israel, and have risked derailing any progress on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The U.S. must act swiftly. President Bush must encourage Israel to use whatever diplomatic means necessary to pursue a ceasefire with Hamas that includes an agreement to crack down on all groups launching missiles. This is the only possible course of action with the potential to stop the rocket attacks and avoid further Israeli incursions into Gaza. Bush must also work with the international community to find a solution to the border crossings in and out of Gaza.

The past week has demonstrated that the status quo is simply untenable and that there is no military solution to this crisis. The U.S. must act now to promote an Israel-Hamas ceasefire, end the complete blockade of Gaza, and get peace negotiations back on track.

Please contact President Bush today!

Tell Bush, Congress: Time for New Policy on Gaza

Take Action NOW!

Please write President Bush and your Congressional representatives.

Tell them that it is time for a new approach.

On the heels of President Bush’s visit to the Middle East, the situation in southern Israel and Gaza has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer possible to argue that the current U.S.-backed policy of blockading Gaza is working.

By now it should be clear that placing the entire population of Gaza under siege is succeeding neither in stopping Qassam fire, nor in ousting Hamas.

This policy has, however, contributed to the growing desperation and misery of the people of Gaza. This week’s breach of the Egypt-Gaza border is a tangible consequence of this desperation, and a public relations bonanza for Hamas. It is also a disastrous development for Israel in terms of both security and its image in the world.

Tactics like placing Gaza under siege have been tried by Israel and have failed, repeatedly. Rather than continue down this disastrous path, Israel, with the support and urging of the U.S., should forge a more responsible, constructive, and far-sighted way forward in terms of both its tactics and strategy for Gaza.

The firing of rockets and mortar rounds from Gaza into Israel must end. APN and its Israeli sister organization, Peace Now, have repeatedly expressed solidarity with the residents of Israeli communities near Gaza who are suffering from such attacks.

It is time for a new approach. Take Action NOW!

Tell the President and Congress that as a supporter of a safe, secure, democratic Israel, you believe it is vital that that the U.S. support a new way forward in Gaza that ensures that:

the blockade of Gaza is ended;

the possibility of achieving understandings with Hamas to end the violence is explored, including a ceasefire or a “hudna,” either through direct contacts or via third parties, including President Abbas; and

a political process is established that can prevent the re-emergence of violence and that can re-establish security on the Gaza-Egypt border. Such a process may involve, as appropriate, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Egypt.