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APN Welcomes President Obama's Visit to Israel

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Washington, DC - On behalf of Americans for Peace Now (APN) and on the eve of President Obama's historic visit to Israel, APN President and CEO Debra DeLee issued the following statement:

"It gives us great joy to see President Obama heading to the Middle East.We have long urged him to make this trip, in part because we know that one of the most important things President Obama can do to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace is speak directly to Israel's citizens. By doing so, we believe Israelis will finally come to appreciate the depth of this president's personal commitment to ensuring the security of Israel and Israel's future as a viable, successful democracy with a Jewish character. Out of this appreciation we hope they can begin to understand, welcome, and support President Obama's determination to pursue peace and the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict - a determination that flows directly from President Obama's sense of responsibility as the leader of the nation that is and will remain Israel's steadfast ally.

"We know that the Israeli people are a partner for peace.The Israel peace camp, led by our friends and colleagues in Shalom Achshav (the Israeli Peace Now movement), has been mobilizing support for President Obama's visit and enthusiastically welcomes it. Israeli peace activists, along with the sometimes silent majority of Israelis that consistently goes on the record in support of the two-state solution, are looking for leadership from President Obama - leadership that can break the current deadlock and put Israelis and Palestinians on the path to peace in the near term. Israelis need President Obama's leadership to assure them that peace is still possible.

"Peace is indeed still possible, and U.S. leadership is critical to achieving it. We believe that, as the people of Israel get to know this president and grasp the strength of his commitment to them and their future, they will become the Obama Administration's most valuable ally in pressing the Netanyahu government to act more responsibly and more constructively.It is the people of Israel, more than anyone else, who have an interest in demanding that their leaders cease actions on the ground that threaten the viability of the two-state solution.It is they who have the most immediate, vital interest in pressing their leaders to act urgently to re-energize a serious, credible diplomatic effort to achieve peace.

"In short, this visit is an opportunity to establish a warmer, stronger relationship between the Obama Administration and the people of Israel - and, by extension, a healthier, more constructive relationship with the new government of Israel. We wish President Obama safe travels and a successful visit, and we look forward to doing everything we can, upon his return to the U.S., to support his efforts and those of Secretary Kerry to break the current deadlock end achieve real progress on the path to peace."obama-netanyahuFB.jpg