Special Dossier: Varied Reactions To Annapolis Peace Conference
The following reactions were compiled from a number of sources submitted to the Philadelphia Jewish Voice. The broad spectrum of reaction may not have been available to our readers through mass media coverage. The format provided is intended to tease our readers to follow links to further coverage.
-- Ben Burrows, Editor
Brit Tzedek and Others Rally for Peace at Annapolis
-- Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
Brit Tzedek joined forces with eight other progressive pro-Israel organizations to rally outside the Naval Academy during the Annapolis peace conference this past Tuesday. Nearly 100 people, including Brit Tzedek activists from our New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and even our Rhode Island chapters, converged on Annapolis to demonstrate the strong American Jewish support for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Following the rally, many of the attendees marched closer to the gates of the Naval Academy where small groups of protesters were gathered in opposition to the peace process. As the protesters condemned Prime Minister Olmert and the Israeli government for striving to make peace with the Palestinians, we had no doubts who the truly pro-Israel side was.
Cosponsoring the event with Brit Tzedek were: Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Meretz USA, Union of Progressive Zionists, Kesher ARZA, Habonim Dror, Hashomer Hatzair, and The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring.
Palestinian Presdient Mahmoud Abbas, US President George
W. Bush, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
A Flag and Anthem for the New State In Yehuda and Shomron
-- Rabbi Dov Volpo
Two new initiatives have been raised by the right wing after the proposal put up by Barak for
expulsion/compensation. One of the initiatives is the choosing of a flag and an anthem for a new state that will be established in the event of expulsion. We must decide if we want to be led to slaughter as sheep, or stand up against the government..
An earthquake is coming closer!
Many people are wondering, after the last moves of the Israeli Government, that obligated itself to establish a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its' capitol,' what should be done now?'
The answer is simple. First of all we must understand that it can happen! The cruel lesson we learnt in Gush Katif has taught us to be realistic and not fool ourselves. We must decide if, G-d forbid, we want to be led to slaughter, or to rise and take a stand against the evil designs of the government. There is no doubt that the only solution is to declare the establishment of a Jewish Autonomy in Yehuda and Shomron. It is about time to think seriously about creating a body that will unite the settlements in Yehuda and Shomron to form a future state.
Why Annapolis Succeeded
Knesset Member (Labor) and Former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh
MK Ephraim Sneh, former Deputy Defense Minister and Head of the Civil Administration of the West Bank, told the Ameinu national board of directors on Sunday, December 2, 2007 that the Annapolis Conference was a success for three principal reasons:
- A joint statement by the main parties was agreed upon and delivered to attendees and the world press.
- The Arab world, led by the Saudis and including the Syrians, attended the event.
- The conference officially launched real negotiations with a structure and a timetable
In addition, it is very important that a conference on Palestinian economic development chaired by Tony Blair will take place this month.
He stated that this process will require "political courage on the part of both Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas. For negotiations to achieve their goal, each side has to give up one national dream:Israel has to give up the dream of a united Jerusalem, Palestinians have to give up their dream of the return of refugees to Israel proper. To achieve peace, Israel and Jews worldwide will have to accept sharing Jerusalem and Palestinians will have to accept that refugees will return to a Palestinian state, not Israel."
Regarding Jerusalem, Sneh said that with 250,000 Palestinians living in Jerusalem, Israel can't ignore the demographic issue, one of the motivating factors of territorial compromise. Instead of becoming full Israeli citizens, they should be part of the capital of the Palestinian state. In addressing the thorny question of the holy places in Jerusalem, he sees a Vatican-like arrangement, inclusive of the three monotheistic religions.
He believes that 100,000 - 150,000 settlers will have to be resettled within Israel proper and welcomes the "Settler Evacuation Bill" introduced to the Knesset by MK Colette Avital (Labor) and MK Abu Vilan (Meretz) that offers material compensation to West Bank settlers who want to leave their homes prior to a peace agreement. Unlike the Gaza disengagement which he called "expensive and brutal," he favors an evacuation plan that uses
"heart and common sense" and is handled with care over a 4-5 year period.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian Authority
President Abbas (Photo: Guillaume Bureau).
Orthodox criticism of Olmert foreshadows Jewish showdown
-- Ami Eden
NEW YORK (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert found himself under criticism this week by America's largest Orthodox group, foreshadowing a likely showdown between left-wing and right-wing Jewish groups.
The Orthodox Union, which claims to represent about 1,000 synagogues, issued a statement Tuesday criticizing Olmert for not defending Israel's right to Jerusalem in the face of Palestinian claims on parts of the city during his speech at the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Md.
O.U. leaders voiced "concern" that Olmert "did not explicitly resist Palestinian President Abbas’ claim to a piece of Jerusalem."
The O.U.'s statement was just one sign of Orthodox and right-wing groups ramping up their campaign this week to head off any Israeli deal for sharing or dividing Jerusalem. The campaign comes as Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pledged this week to try to forge a peace deal by the end of 2008.
In his speech Tuesday, Olmert stressed that the forthcoming negotiations would "address all the issues that we have so far avoided addressing. We will do this directly, openly and courageously. We will not avoid any issue. We will address all core issues."
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