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APN to Obama on Eve of Meeting with Netanyahu: Push for Mideast Peace; Israelis and Americans Support you

Most Israelis and American friends of Israel support the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. APN calls on Obama not to waver or hesitate in the face of pushback.


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Washington, D.C. - As President Barack Obama prepares for his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Americans for Peace Now (APN) today sent a letter to the White House calling on the President to stay resolved in his commitment to advancing Middle East peace.


The letter, signed by APN's Chairman of the Board Franklin M. Fisher and Debra DeLee, the organization's President and CEO, points out that President Obama is likely to face opposition to his peacemaking effort. It reminds the President, however, that most Israelis and American friends of Israel support the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It calls on Obama not to waver or hesitate in the face of pushback.


APN, America 's leading group advocating for Middle East peace is the sister organization of Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), Israel 's largest peace movement. APN's experts will be available for comment and analysis throughout Netanyahu's visit to Washington next week.



Here is the full text of APN's letter to the President:


President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC


May 14, 2009


Dear President Obama,


We are following with excitement and hope your administration's determined leadership in the effort to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors. Your increased personal involvement on this issue infuses even greater promise and hope.


As strong supporters of a secure Jewish and democratic Israel , we deeply appreciate your efforts to resolve Israel 's conflict with the Palestinians and with the Arab world.


Mr. President, as you and your aides know, Middle East peacemaking is not for the irresolute or the faint of heart. Many have failed in the face of pushback from enemies of Mideast peace.


You too are likely to face such pushback.


As you face the opposition, please keep in mind that our support for your Mideast agenda represents a majority view both in Israel and among Israel 's friends in the United States .  American Jews voted for you overwhelmingly last November. Most American Jews and most Israeli citizens support the two-state solution that your administration is diligently pursuing. We are confident that Americans - Jews and non-Jews alike - increasingly recognize that Mideast peace is a key U.S. national security interest.


While the obstacles to peace are considerable and ought not be trivialized, there are also significant opportunities for a breakthrough in relations between Israel and her neighbors. Syria's recent peace overtures, the Arab League's peace initiative, the solid commitment of moderate countries such as Egypt and Jordan to play a positive role in pushing for peace - all these can be leveraged to transform the region toward peace.


A necessary condition for such transformation is that all sides - Israel , the Palestinians and Arab governments - adhere to their commitments and play a constructive role in creating an environment conducive to a successful peace initiative. Palestinians and Israelis must do their part to achieve a two-state solution. The Palestinians must act to fight terrorism and incitement and to bridge the gap between Hamas and Fatah, between Gaza and the West Bank . Israel must stop settlement construction, uproot illegal outposts in the West Bank , and allow greater access and mobility for Palestinians. Arab governments must demonstrate their commitment to peace as well.


Mr. President, please don't waver. Please don't hesitate. Israelis Palestinians, Arabs and Jews in the region, their friends in the United States and hundreds of millions of people worldwide who seek global security and stability, are all looking to you for leadership.


Thank you,


Franklin M. Fisher                                Debra DeLee

Chairman of the Board                      President and CEO