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Gush Shalom On Colin Powell’s Speech

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - http://www.gush-shalom.org/

Powell spoke, and included in his speech some important elements - about what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about and how a solution should look - not explicitly expressed before by a representative of the US administration.

At the same time, it remains doubtful whether the US is at last going to use its leverage - to get the Sharon government to the negotiating table.

[We forward the following preliminary analysis from our American friends of A Jewish Voice For Peace (written by Jewish Peace News editor Adam Gutride agutride@earthlink.net).]

Today Colin Powell gave his long-awaited speech on the U.S. Administration's plans for Middle East Peace. READ IT. It deserves our support.

The highlights:

Powell:

1. condemned violence against innocent civilians and incitement to violence;

2. said that there must security for both Israelis and Palestinians;

3. said both sides had suffered from the Occupation;

4. said settlement activity must stop;

5. said that the Occupation must end;

6. called for a "just and lasting peace" consistent with UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338;

7. called for creation of a "viable Palestinian State" alongside Israel;

8. called for a solution to the status of Jerusalem that respects Jews, Muslims and Christians;

9. requested a "just solution" for the refugees;

10. and called for immediate economic investment into Palestine.

The speech shows very clearly that our work is making a difference. Three very important pieces of information unfortunately did not make it into the speech:

(1) that U.S. is complicit in the abuses of Palestinians because its military aid to Israel funds the Occupation,

(2) that it is neither necessary nor possible to obtain a "cease-fire" before restarting negotiations, as such a policy gives veto power to extremists to Israeli soldiers who incite violent reactions,

and (3) that it will take a real shift in US policies, and not merely prodding the parties, to reach a just solution.

But overall, the speech is a big step in the right direction. Now of course comes the hard part: to make Powell's words reality, to prevent U.S. administration backtracking, and to prevent Israel and its lobbyists from using their strategic advantage (as after the Oslo accords) to undermine the very principles that are being promulgated. We have accomplished a great deal. We have a great deal more to accomplish.

[For more information about JVP, visit the web site at http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org ]


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