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APN Welcomes Israel-Hamas Ceasefire; Urges U.S.-Led Peacemaking and Reconstruction Efforts

"...desperately needed first step, ending three weeks of fighting that has come at a terrible cost for the people of Gaza, and...rocket fire...into Israel"
Peace Now Demo in Jerusalem after Cease-Fire 1-18-09

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 18, 2009
CONTACT:  Ori Nir - (202) 728-1893

Washington, D.C. - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today welcomed the decisions by Israel and Hamas to each unilaterally adopt a ceasefire.

"These unilateral decisions represent a desperately needed first step, ending three weeks of fighting that has come at a terrible cost for the people of Gaza, and ending the constant rocket fire from Gaza into Israel," said APN President and CEO Debra DeLee.

"Even before this Gaza crisis we argued that the Obama administration should make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top priority on its agenda. Today, the need for Obama's leadership in this arena, from day one, is even more apparent and urgent," she said. 

"As soon as he takes office, President Obama must begin working not only with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but with other stakeholders in the region and the international community to ensure that the ceasefire is bolstered by agreements and mechanisms that address the fundamental security requirements of Israel and the dignity and humanitarian needs of Gaza's Palestinians. In addition, the ceasefire must be supported by a political track that can address the issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," DeLee said.

"Such arrangements, had they been put in place earlier, could have prevented this latest war. For the sake of both Israelis and Palestinians, and for the sake of regional security and stability, the world must not sit idle and allow the same mistake to be made again now," added DeLee.

"In addition to helping revive the political process, the U.S. must work immediately with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the international community to muster the resources and political will to address the monumental reconstruction needs in Gaza," Said DeLee.

APN has not only been pressing for a ceasefire throughout this latest round of violence, but has long argued that a ceasefire must not be an end in itself.  Rather, a ceasefire only as a means to halt violence and chaos in the immediate term, creating the space to facilitate improvements in the humanitarian situation, stabilize the political situation, and get the process back on track to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For details of the arrangements and mechanism APN believes are necessary to bolster the ceasefire, see:

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