2014

AJC Admiration for U.S. Effort to Achieve Israeli-Palestinian Peace

NEW YORK, May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC has expressed "gratitude and admiration" to Secretary of State John Kerry for "the noble initiative" for Israeli-Palestinian peace he launched last June at the AJC Global Forum. Kerry's address to AJC was his first speech in Washington as Secretary of State.

"When you spoke to us in Washington last June, you were clear-eyed about the challenges the United States and the parties themselves would face," wrote AJC President Stanley Bergman and Executive Director David Harris.

"That the United States, under leadership deeply invested in a strategic partnership with Israel, was willing to undertake the formidable task of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace – and that the Secretary of State was willing to devote the full measure of his skill and fortitude to this urgent project – are sources of pride to us as Americans and as advocates for a secure Israel."

The AJC letter concluded with hope "that the experience of the last year encourages new thinking – not despair – and that, with the benefit of lessons learned, the vital task of pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace will remain a high priority of the United States."

The full text of the AJC letter to Secretary Kerry follows:

May 5, 2014

The Honorable John Kerry
The Secretary
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We write to express our gratitude and admiration for the noble initiative you launched at the AJC Global Forum last year and guided through nine difficult months: the effort to negotiate a durable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, establishing at long last two states for two peoples and fulfilling the long-held Israeli dream of peace with its neighbors.

When you spoke to us in Washington last June, you were clear-eyed about the challenges the United States and the parties themselves would face in the process you outlined, about the deep distrust that separated the antagonists, and about the dangers looming for both peoples should the conflict remain unresolved.

Against formidable odds, and under relentless pressure to turn your attention to other foreign policy concerns, you proved tireless in seeking common ground between Israeli and Palestinian leaders – and effective in keeping these most sensitive negotiations out of the public spotlight.

That the ambitious goal you set – the achievement of a final-status agreement in nine months – eluded the United States and the two parties was another telling reminder of the fraught complexities of Middle East peacemaking. Nonetheless, that the United States, under leadership deeply invested in a strategic partnership with Israel, was willing to undertake the formidable task of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace – and that the Secretary of State was willing to devote the full measure of his skill and fortitude to this urgent project – are sources of pride to us as Americans and as advocates for a secure Israel.

We recognize that, with the expiration of the nine-month negotiating period, the Administration may wish to pause for reflection. We expect the parties themselves to do the same. It is our earnest hope, however, that the experience of the last year encourages new thinking – not despair – and that, with the benefit of lessons learned, the vital task of pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace will remain a high priority of the United States.

With the assurance of our profound esteem, we remain,

Respectfully,

Stanley Bergman, AJC President

David Harris, AJC Executive Director

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SOURCE American Jewish Committee



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