Update from CALME: Let’s Seize the Openings

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Recent CALME signatories

Mr. William L. Ball, III, Former Secretary of the Navy; Managing Director, The Loeffler Group
Mr. William Benter, Chairman, Acusis LLC
Ms. Deedee Corradini, former Mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah
Lt. General Lawrence P. Farrell Jr (U.S. Air Force, ret.), President and CEO, National Defense Industrial Association
Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Senior Vice President, APCO Worldwide
Ms. Carolyn Grinstein, Trustee, American Community School, Beirut
General Buck Kernan, Former Commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command
The Honorable William H. Taft IV, Former Legal Advisor, Department of State, former U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO
Mr. Stanley Weiss, Chairman, Business Executives for National Security

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Update from CALME:

In what was billed as a major policy address last Monday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert used a speech to build on the recent ceasefire in Gaza and work toward a common ground of “peace, tranquility and mutual trust.” He said that Israel was prepared to offer the Palestinians several concessions in exchange for a full cessation of violence, the safe return of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, and acceptance of previous Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements. In exchange, he announced Israel was prepared to release Palestinian prisoners, work toward improving the quality of life of the Palestinian people, and release Palestinian funds held since Hamas’s election.

Perhaps most notably, he said directly to the Palestinian people, “You will be able to establish an independent and viable Palestinian State, with territorial contiguity in Judea and Samaria – a State with full sovereignty and defined borders.”

Then on Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Jericho. He said afterward, “We want the Palestinian state and the Palestinians to live alongside with Israel. We don’t deny that. A contiguous state, as Olmert indicated and as was confirmed by President Bush, this is our goal and any obstacles on that path will obstruct and undermine these efforts. Therefore what we want is to have a political track, a track for political issues, and another track for daily issues, things that the people suffer from, prisoners, roadblocks, obstacles, deprivation of many things and issues that the Palestinian people are deprived from. If this happens, then we give the two peoples hope that the peace is coming and imminent. We must give people hope.”

In response, Secretary Rice put forth that on her next stop, “I will speak with Prime Minister Olmert about the positive elements in that [his] speech and hopefully we can take this moment to accelerate our efforts that intensify our efforts toward the two- state solution that we all desire.”

Concurrent with these developments are press reports that indicate that the Iraq Study Group, led by former Secretary of State James Baker III and former Congressman and CALME American leader Lee Hamilton, may include a reference to the importance of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking in their report. Congressman Hamilton is joined on the Iraq Study Group by other CALME supporters Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger, Leon Panetta, Senator Chuck Robb, Secretary William Perry, and Senator Alan Simpson.

The importance of referencing Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking in the ISG report was emphasized in a recent piece on CALME’s Online Journal ( https://mideastcalm.wordpress.com), written by former Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman who said, “The ISG will have important things to say about the future of Iraq. Let us hope they will also connect what so urgently needs to be done in Iraq to a larger American strategy in the Middle East. The Administration should dedicate 2007 to trying to solve simultaneously the three great challenges facing America in the region: making peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the need for Iraq to be a unified, peaceful country which can govern itself and the requirement to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Do you agree?

You will make your voice heard by the Administration when CALME’s letter is delivered – now is the time to ensure that the voices of as many Americans as possible join you.

Please forward this message to your friends and loved ones and ask them to sign the open letter to the President at http://www.mideastcalm.org.

We will contact you again shortly to tell you about the coming delivery of CALME’s open letter, and ask for your participatory support.

Remember, our strength is in our numbers.

Sincerely,
Joel Tauber and George Salem
Co-Chairs
The Campaign for American Leadership in the Middle East
http://www.mideastcalm.org

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