Archive for the ‘CALME Updates’ category

It is Time To Reengage

March 2, 2007

Just as CALME’s open letter called for, this month we saw the United States, under the determined leadership of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, pledging to truly reengage in active efforts to bring about a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I’m committed to this,” she said after arriving in Jerusalem for the trilateral summit between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas. “I’m committed to seeing what we can do to improve life for the Palestinian people, seeing what we can do to improve security for the Israeli people, seeing what we can do to realize the two states living side by side in peace and freedom. And this is the work that takes — it takes hard work, it takes patience, it takes perseverance, it takes getting up, you know, after a bad day and trying to make a better day. And that’s what I’m going to do.” (more…)

Keeping an Eye on Congress

February 14, 2007

In recent weeks, several Members of Congress have put forth a couple of resolutions that, at the least, draw attention back to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process amid the focus on myriad other important issues.  The first, a resolution put forth by Rep. Susan Davis, calls for the appointment of a special envoy to the Middle East peace process.  While it is unclear how far this resolution will move as Secretary Rice appears to have become herself reengaged, it is important to continue spurring the dialogue on how the U.S. can maximize its ability to move the peace process forward. 

The second, a resolution sponsored by House Committee on Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcomittee Chair Gary Ackerman, focuses on calling for the release of the captured Israeli soldiers from the hands of Hezbollah and Hamas, but importantly it also says that the “House of Representatives expresses” the following:  “its strong support and deep interest in achieving a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the creation of a viable and independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside of the State of Israel.”  The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will consider that resolution Thursday morning.

The text of both resolutions follows the jump. (more…)

Reengaging with the Quartet is Important for Our Roadmap Back to Active Engagement

February 6, 2007

By CALME Luminary, Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm

On Friday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice convened a meeting of the Quartet to consider ways to revive the 2003 Road Map and re-start Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.  This is an encouraging sign that the Administration is once again assuming international leadership of an effort to bring about a Middle East peace agreement.  After 35 years serving seven Presidents in senior positions in the Departments of State and Defense, I see no objective more critical to U.S. interests globally.

President Bush has consistently pledged his commitment to bringing about a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most recently in his January 23 State of the Union Address when he again called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.  

This was not the first time in recent months that the President has reaffirmed his dedication to pursuing a two-state solution.  He highlighted his vision during last year’s United Nations General Assembly in September.  Then after his November meeting with Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki, he said that resolving the crisis would help bring greater peace to the Middle East.  It is time that the President takes active and sustained steps to make this vision reality in 2007.

I am hopeful that he is starting to do just that.  (more…)

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…)

Murmurs of a Renewed Focus for Secretary Rice on Israel-Palestine

January 8, 2007

Jim Hoagland’s op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday highlights the substantial expectation that Secretary Rice may turn her attentions to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking in the near term:

 “Bush will signal whether Iraq will remain the center of his grand designs for the Middle East or will recede to being one more troublesome conflict in a zone of deadly turbulence and trade-offs. Events, and one key aide, point Bush toward the latter course, with its promise of salvaging his legacy elsewhere.

The aide is Condoleezza Rice, who has developed a personal exit strategy for Iraq. She is tossing that reputation-damaging hot potato to John Negroponte, a former ambassador to Baghdad who is resigning as director of national intelligence to become Rice’s deputy at the State Department.

His arrival will allow Rice to continue her minimalist personal engagement with Iraq. She will focus her considerable management skills instead on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A day or so after the president’s midweek speech, she will embark on a high-profile Middle Eastern trip dedicated to reviving the two-state solution Bush has endorsed.”

Further, Hoagland delineates a four point strategy for Bush to clarify and bolster US purposes in Iraq and the Middle East broadly:

“As the first president to have explicitly endorsed a Palestinian state, Bush should use Rice’s new burst of Middle East activism to reinforce the changes in Iraq strategy his speech will disclose. U.S. officials hope Rice can get Israel to release 450 Palestinian prisoners soon as a first step toward Hamas giving up the kidnapped Israeli soldier it holds.”

Full article after the jump. (more…)

World Affairs Council Alerts Supporters to CALME

January 2, 2007

The Executive Committee of the World Affairs Councils of America stated their support of CALME to their members worldwide in their December newsletter:

“As we focus on the Middle East and especially bringing peace to the region in our upcoming conference, the Executive Committee has agreed to join with hundreds of non-partisan leaders to make available for our members the information on CALME – the Campaign for American Leadership in the Middle East.”

The World Affairs Councils of America is the largest international affairs non-profit in the United States.  Started in 1918, the council system has 484,000 members and participants, 84 councils, and 26 affiliates.  Councils operate on membership dues, corporate sponsorships, grants, in-kind donations, fundraising events, and fee-for-service activities.  Over 2,000 corporations, foundations, and individuals support council work.World affairs councils are non-profit, non-partisan organizations open to all who wish to join.

The council system has the biggest international affairs speakers’ program in the country with over 2,500 events each year.  Councils also run international exchanges, school programs, teachers’ workshops, model UNs, foreign policy discussions, national opinion polls, travel programs, young professionals’ programs, conferences, corporate programs, journals, newspaper columns, and local radio and television programs.  The system has five flagship programs:  World in Transition, Great Decisions, the NPR radio program It’s Your World, Academic WorldQuest and Travel the World.

The 2007 Washington conference, BRIDGING THE DESERT: the Middle East in the Next Decade will be January 31 to February 4 . The council system holds a national high school world affairs knowledge competition called Academic WorldQuest in Washington.  Councils reach over 20 million people every year with their programs.