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APN CALLS ON BUSH TO LEAD EFFORTS TO REVIVE MIDEAST PEACE PROCESS

Following the Quartet meeting in Washington today, Americans for Peace Now called on President Bush to assume the leadership role that all stakeholders in the Mideast conflict expect of America, and to decisively push to restart the political process.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 2, 2007
CONTACT: Ori Nir - (202) 728-1893

Washington, D.C - Following the Quartet meeting in Washington today, Americans for Peace Now called on President Bush to assume the leadership role that all stakeholders in the Mideast conflict expect of America, and to decisively push to restart the political process.

The international Quartet that sponsors the Israeli-Palestinian peace process - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia - resolved today in Washington to support efforts to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in order to create a viable Palestinian state that will live in peace and security with Israel. It also expressed support for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's initiative to convene a meeting between the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority "to define more clearly the political horizon for the Palestinian people" and engender a sense of Israeli-Palestinian partnership.

APN, a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel's security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement, today welcomed the Quartet's statement. It also urged President Bush to assume persistent American leadership, with his personal involvement and that of his secretary of state.

"Almost five years after the United States tapped the European Union, the United Nations and Russia to form the Quartet, it is clear that even a multilateral mechanism such as this can show results only through strong American leadership," said Franklin M. Fisher, APN's Chair. "Resolute American leadership is a necessary condition for progress. Such leadership can only come from President Bush and Secretary Rice," Fisher said.

APN agrees with Secretary Rice that the turmoil in the Palestinian territories ought not be a cause for delaying peace talks. There is a good chance now to revive the diplomatic process in the Middle East. Leaders of the parties to the conflict, including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian President Bashar Assad have repeatedly indicated they are ready and willing to resume peace talks. The leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states say they are eager to help, as are leaders of nations around the world. This message was heard loud and clear at the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week. "Someone has to lead all the parties in seizing the moment. That can only be the President of the United States. Let's not miss another opportunity," Fisher said

APN has been in contact with diplomats representing all the chief stakeholders in the Middle East conflict to gauge the prospects for a political breakthrough in the region. All say their governments are yearning for proactive US leadership, Fisher pointed out.