To return to the new Peace Now website click here.

APN to Bush: Don't Forget Gaza Strip

APN called on President Bush to use his visit to Israel next week to help stabilize the situation in the Gaza Strip while advancing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and improving conditions in the West Bank.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 7, 2008
CONTACT:  Ori Nir - (202) 728-1893

Washington, D.C.- Americans for Peace Now today called on President Bush to use his visit to Israel next week to help stabilize the situation in the Gaza Strip while advancing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and improving conditions in the West Bank. 

APN applauds the President's personal involvement in diplomatic negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. However, presidential involvement that ignores the volatile situation in the Gaza Strip is likely to thwart America's peacemaking efforts.

APN, a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel's security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement, rejoices at Israel's achievements in sixty years of independence. APN extends its best wishes to Israel for a bright future of peace, security and prosperity.

"We commend Bush for traveling to Israel to celebrate the country's 60th anniversary. If Bush wants to give Israel a real birthday gift, he ought to go beyond ceremony and protocol, roll up his sleeves and work out a comprehensive strategy to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which includes solutions for the brewing disaster in Gaza," said Debra DeLee, APN's president and CEO. "The president has not yet delivered on the promise he made last November in Annapolis to do everything in his power to support the Israeli and Palestinian quest for peace," DeLee added.


An American-led strategy vis-…-vis Gaza, should address several challenges:

Achieving a ceasefire: Third parties are probably best positioned to put together such an agreement. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' mediation services should not be ruled out. Such a ceasefire could halt the rocket attacks on civilians in southern Israel. It could prevent the need for further Israeli military operations in Gaza in the short run. It could also provide the necessary calm for peace negotiations and for progress on the ground in the West Bank. In addition, it could advance efforts to release the Israeli kidnapped soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, and facilitate an improvement in the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

Ending the blockade on Gaza: The blockade has boosted Hamas' popularity among Palestinians instead of reducing it, as was originally intended. Ending the blockade will require a formula that will secure re-opening the crossings on the Egypt-Gaza border, under the control of President Abbas' Palestinian Authority.

Establishing security arrangements on the border between Gaza and Egypt: Such arrangements would address weapons smuggling and future breaches of Egypt's border. Reaching such arrangements would require working closely with Egypt and Israel to boost security along the Egypt-Gaza border.

"Addressing the situation in Gaza does not necessitate direct engagement with Hamas.  However, ignoring the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip just because it is led by Hamas enhances Hamas' ability to destroy the peace process through violence. Hamas has done it before. A comprehensive plan to stabilize Gaza, while supporting a robust peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, could deny Hamas its traditional role as spoiler," DeLee said.