Archive for January 2007

CALME in the Jerusalem Post

January 25, 2007

Bush urged to stress Mideast in State of Union address
Hilary Leila Krieger, Jerusalem Post correspondent

THE JERUSALEM POST
 Jan. 22, 2007
Ahead of US President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address, a group of prominent American political figures urged Bush to prioritize efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by emphasizing the importance of the issue in his speech Tuesday.

The call is part of the Campaign for American Leadership in the Middle East’s (CALME) overall push for greater American involvement in pursuit of a two-state solution to the conflict.

“We are the only ones who can bring the resources and the leadership to help the parties narrow the differences so that they can sit down and reach an accord,” said former defense secretary William Cohen, a supporter of CALME. (more…)

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SOTU – “Living Side-by-Side”

January 25, 2007

President Bush advocated the establishment of a two-state solution in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address:

“With the other members of the Quartet — the U.N., the European Union, and Russia — we are pursuing diplomacy to help bring peace to the Holy Land, and pursuing the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security. “

Secretary Cohen Headlines CALME Press Conference

January 25, 2007

CALME Co-Chairs Joel Tauber and George Salem, along with Secretary William Cohen, Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and Ambassador Skip Gnehm, hosted a press conference Monday morning advocating American commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The full press release:

Washington, DC – In his State of the Union address tomorrow, President Bush should announce that the United States will lead an active and sustained effort to bring about two states in 2007, prominent American leaders said today.

The Campaign for American Leadership in the Middle East (CALME) today commended President Bush for his longstanding commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and asked that he work to make his vision reality as soon as possible.  CALME recently sent a letter to the President that was signed by thousands of Americans from all 50 states that called on him to sustain and strengthen American leadership in pursuing efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  CALME was launched in 2005 to enlist American public support for an active and sustained U.S. diplomatic pursuit of a negotiated two-state resolution. 

CALME Co-Chair Joel Tauber, a member of the United Jewish Committees Board of Trustees, said at a press conference Monday, “We hope the President will announce in his State of the Union Address tomorrow that reinvigorating international efforts to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace is a central goal of American foreign policy. Our letter demonstrates the American public’s support for his determination to actively pursue peace between the two peoples.  I believe it is in U.S., Israeli, and Palestinian interests to achieve a viable settlement as soon as possible.”

CALME Co-Chair George Salem, Chairman of the Arab American Institute, added, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the prism through which the Arab and Muslim world views the United States.  It is in our national interest to push the parties toward agreement on a two-state, permanent status agreement as soon as possible.  This will strengthen the moderates in the region who are working toward a more stable Middle East.” 

Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who has just returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Oman, commented, “Virtually every official with whom I met on this trip and previous ones emphasized the urgency of the U.S. becoming reengaged in efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.  I am delighted that Secretary Rice will convene a meeting soon with Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas to explore ideas for the creation of a Palestinian state.  Momentum is building. We must seize this opening.”

CALME is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, uniquely American initiative that actively promotes resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution.  Over 275 bipartisan and diverse American political, business, military, academic, philanthropic and religious leaders have joined thousands of Americans in all 50 states to support Administration and Congressional efforts to achieve a lasting Israeli-Palestinian settlement.  CALME’s list of American leaders includes former Secretaries of Defense William S. Cohen and William Perry; former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, and Lawrence Eagleburger; Arab American Institute Chairman George Salem and American Task Force for Palestine President Dr. Ziad Al-Asali; Rabbi Eric Yoffie; and former Middle East peace negotiators Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, and Robert Malley.  CALME is the first American initiative to reach this magnitude of widespread and diverse support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  More information about CALME can be found at www.mideastcalm.org.

CAP Progress Report — CALME Letter “Fitting”

January 22, 2007

The Center for American Progress referenced CALME’s delivery of the letter to the President in its Progress Report newsletter today:

“Given the pressing need for a comprehensive approach to the region, it is fitting that the Campaign for American Leadership in the Middle East — a group that includes among its thousands of signatories an impressive selection of bipartisan dignitaries — has chosen today to submit its letter to President Bush, calling for him to revive efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This effort must be a “central and sustained objective of American foreign policy,” the letter argues. ”

You can read the full CAP newsletter here

Secretary Cohen Alerts CNN to CALME

January 19, 2007

In an interview with Wolf Blitzer from Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday, former Defense Secretary William Cohen answered a question on whether anyone thinks jump-starting the Israeli-Palestinian peace proces is “doable” by saying that he is involved with CALME because he hopes it is.

“I think they [Gulf leaders] all feel it’s fundamental, that this process has to be reenergized.

“As a matter of fact, I will be talking about the so-called CALME, the Campaign for American Leadership in the Middle East, the Internet petition that we have all been working on to get as many thousands of Americans who support this and to support President Bush’s initiative to have a two-state solution.

“It becomes more difficult at the moment, because U.S. credibility has been called into question. The Kadima Party, obviously, under Prime Minister Olmert now, is under attack. So, it’s a very challenging thing. But I think that there’s no doubt it has the support of all of the Gulf states, and it will have support, I believe, of the Quartet, the United Nations, Russia, Germany, and the United States.

And, so, I think it’s very important that we move forward as quickly as we can, again, to — to change the dynamic and give the perception and the reality that we want to see the — the Palestinian- Israeli conflict resolved. ”

Full transcript after the jump. (more…)

CALME: The Time is Now

January 17, 2007

It is time to deliver the CALME letter to the President.

During an appearance with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki last month, President Bush again reiterated his support for and interest in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. He said:

There’s no question that if we were able to settle the Palestinian-Israeli issue, it would help bring more peace to the Middle East. And therefore, our government is focused on helping develop the two- state solution. Our government strongly believes in the two-state solution, and I believe it’s in the Palestinian people’s interest that they have their own state. And I believe it’s in Israel’s interest that there be a democracy on her border. And therefore, we’re working to that end.

President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address on January 23rd. In that speech, we hope he will highlight the effort to bring about two states as a central and sustained objective of American foreign policy in 2007.

To encourage the President to do this, we plan to deliver CALME’s letter before the State of the Union. More than 270 American leaders and several thousand Americans have joined CALME’s effort to date. We want to ensure that our voice is heard as loudly as possible. (more…)

A Multilateral Peace Initiative Could Work

January 17, 2007

 By CALME luminary Debra DeLee.  DeLee is the president and CEO of Americans for Peace Now and the former executive director and chair of the Democratic National Committee.

This piece was originally printed in bitterlemons-international.org

One of Ariel Sharon’s favorite metaphors was that of the “chute,” the narrow fenced structure through which ranchers push cattle to the slaughterhouse. The rancher-turned-prime minister frequently used it to refer to what he saw as attempts by the international community to force upon Israel a solution to its conflict with the Palestinians.

This specter of a “forced solution” prompted many among America’s Jewish community to quickly oppose the recently-released Iraq Study Group report.

The report puts the conflict in a regional context by pointing out that resolving it would be instrumental to obtaining other US policy goals in the region. It even goes a step further by stating that “all key issues in the Middle East–the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Iran, the need for political and economic reforms, and extremism and terrorism–are inextricably linked,” adding that unless it deals directly with the Arab-Israel conflict “the United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East.” (more…)