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APN Calls on President Bush to Stop Disengaging from Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

APN called on President George Bush to start working hard to halt the escalating violence taking place in Israel and Gaza.

CONTACT: Lewis Roth - (202) 728-1893

Washington, D.C.-Americans for Peace Now (APN) today called on President George Bush to stop disengaging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to start working hard to halt the escalating violence taking place in Israel and Gaza. APN is a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel's security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement.

According to APN President and CEO Debra DeLee, "The current spiraling violence in the Gaza Strip and from Gaza into Israel cannot be allowed to continue. It is clear that the parties, each facing its own constraints and domestic demands, cannot on their own find a path out of this situation. While efforts exerted thus far by other parties, and in particular those of Egypt, are valuable, they will come to naught unless and until the United States becomes seriously engaged in helping find an expeditious and durable resolution to this intolerable crisis.

"APN has long argued that there is no long-term option for Israel and the Palestinians but a return to negotiations. Absent such negotiations, the parties are doomed to end up locked in conflict, as they are at present, lacking any constructive or face-saving mechanism by which they can disengage.

"It is regrettable that the U.S. did not intervene sooner to foster a political track that could have generated sufficient goodwill to have avoided the current escalation, and that the U.S. has been conspicuously absent thus far from efforts to resolve the crisis. As Israel's foremost ally and friend, and as the third party that has the most capacity to impact the situation, the U.S. must now take urgent and meaningful steps to ensure that this crisis is defused as quickly as possible. Such steps should include the intervention of President Bush or his personal representative, in coordination with other influential players in the region, including not only Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, but also countries like Syria, who are not U.S. allies but, nonetheless, can play a constructive role.

"APN urges the U.S. government - for the sake of Israel, the U.S., and the hopes for peace in the Middle East - to rise to the challenge of this current crisis and in doing so, lay the groundwork for progress back to a negotiating process."