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APN Applauds Reps. Price and LaHood for Urging Bush to Help End the Israel-Gaza Crisis

APN President and CEO, Debra DeLee said: "We are pleased that House members are keeping their eyes on the ball..."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 14, 2008
CONTACT:  Ori Nir - (202) 728-1893

Washington, D.C. - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today applauded Reps. David Price (D-NC) and Ray LaHood (R-IL) for a letter they sent today to President Bush, urging him to focus his current trip to Israel on efforts to finding solutions to the crisis in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip. Price and LaHood were joined by 48 members of the House of Representatives, both Democrats and Republicans.

Praising Congressmen Price and LaHood for their initiative, APN President and CEO, Debra DeLee said: "We are pleased that House members are keeping their eyes on the ball. President Bush's trip to Israel to celebrate its 60th anniversary is commendable, but in order for it to be fruitful, the President should follow the letter's advice. We applaud Reps. Price and LaHood on their leadership and thank the many others who signed the letter."

The letter, which APN strongly supported, expresses strong concern that the violent Israel-Gaza crisis may hamper progress toward a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. "We believe that for the peace process to be viable, solutions must be found to stabilize the Gaza situation, preserve the achievements made in peace talks, and maintain forward momentum. Without such solutions, popular support for the peace process among both Israelis and Palestinians will suffer, and moderate Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, led by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, will be threatened," the letter says.

A comprehensive solution to the Israel-Gaza crisis, the letter says, should include:

Stopping the rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel
Ending the Gaza blockade, including the possible re-opening of the Egypt-Gaza border crossing under Palestinian Authority control
Addressing the smuggling of weapons and materials into Gaza
Exploring the conclusion of a solid ceasefire agreement
 
The letter concludes: "We strongly support Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and believe their success is deeply connected to the national security interests of the United States. As you continue your critically important efforts to achieve progress in implementing the Roadmap, including issues such as access, security, movement, and economic development in the West Bank, we urge you to consider the recommendations outlined in this letter. We look forward to working with you in your efforts to bring stability and peace to the Middle East."

For a full text of the letter and for a list of signatories, please contact APN Spokesman Ori Nir at onir@peacenow.org or by phone: 202-728-1893