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APN to Bush: Help Stop Bloodshed; Achieve Ceasefire; Stabilize Gaza Situation

"With heavy hearts we find ourselves today re-issuing this same plea for rational, responsible and above all sensible policy to avoid further escalation and potential catastrophe"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 28, 2008
CONTACT:  Ori Nir - (202) 728-1893

Washington, D.C. - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today called on the Bush Administration - again - to urgently engage with Israel, regional parties, and the international community to bring about an immediate halt to the rapidly escalating hostilities in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel.

APN mourns the loss of life and the suffering on both sides. APN supports its Israeli sister organization, Peace Now, in calling on the government of Israel to end its military operation in the Gaza Strip and to act toward achieving a ceasefire. APN strongly denounces the firing of rockets and mortar rounds from Gaza into Israel and expresses its solidarity with the residents of communities in southern Israel, who have been subject to the unacceptable terror of incoming fire from the Gaza Strip. APN also expresses deep concern over the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

"On November 17th, with the end of the six-month-old Israel-Hamas ceasefire looming, APN called on the Bush Administration to show real leadership by engaging urgently to prevent an escalation in violence and a renewal of the ceasefire. Nine days ago, when the ceasefire agreement reached its end, APN again beseeched the Bush administration to act, warning that an escalation of violence will serve extremists, while increasing danger to both soldiers and civilians, and risk getting Israel bogged down in an open-ended mission in Gaza. Sadly, this is exactly the situation today," commented APN President and CEO Debra DeLee.

"Nearly nine months ago," she added, "APN urged the Bush Administration, Israel, and the international community to work to forestall a military escalation in Gaza and work to establish a ceasefire. We warned then that a ceasefire could not be an end unto itself, but must be accompanied by real humanitarian improvements on the ground and the launching of a political process. Absent these two elements, we warned, a ceasefire would likely be little more than a lull in the fighting. Current events demonstrate, tragically, the accuracy of that analysis."

"With heavy hearts we find ourselves today re-issuing this same plea for rational, responsible and above all sensible policy to avoid further escalation and potential catastrophe," said DeLee.

"We warned, too, that lessons of the 2006 Lebanon War should not be lost here. Any real resolution to this crisis will require Israel and Hamas to engage, directly or indirectly, to achieve a ceasefire and to further engage in a post-ceasefire political process," DeLee added.

"While we hold - as we always have - that Israel has the right and the obligation to protect its citizens from attack and threats, we know that military power alone will not provide real, long term remedy for the threat that the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip poses to Israel. Israel needs stability on its border with Gaza. Such stability can only be achieved through a political process," DeLee said.

APN's past statements on Gaza are available APN's web site at or upon request.

APN is a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel's security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement.