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January/February 2008 Postcard

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DEAR SENATOR:

I urge you to encourage both Israelis and Palestinians to take real steps toward establishing a just and lasting agreement leading to peace in Palestine and Israel. Besides demanding a halt to acts of Palestinian violence, you should also be demanding an end to Israel’s attacks on the occupied territories and the siege of Gaza Strip, which has brought misery to more than a million Palestinians. Israel must implement a freeze on construction of Jewish settlements, which continues unabated and expropriates more and more Palestinian land every day. I also urge you to demand the release of the more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, most of whom have been neither convicted nor tried. Why should my tax dollars unconditionally support actions by Israel that work against peace? It’s time for you to encourage Israel and Palestine to take serious steps along the road map to ensure a genuine and just peace in the region. 


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For a peace agreement to succeed by the end of 2008, each side must address core issues: borders, water, settlements, refugees, Jerusalem, and prisoners. (Cartoon by Khalil Bendib).
   

IN THE WAKE of November’s Annapolis meeting between Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, and Ehud Olmert, prime minister of Israel, the world is now waiting for real actions and results from all sides.

At the meeting, the leaders agreed to reach a settlement by the end of 2008. This isn’t the first time a deadline for peace has been created. In order for a peace agreement to succeed this time, each side must genuinely address the core issues that have never been fairly tackled. These issues include Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem, a just settlement of the claims of Palestinian refugees, the release of prisoners, water rights, and an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip—all of which, when justly settled, should bring about a final two-state solution that will allow both Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace and dignity.

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