bush gesticulates 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Left-wing Jewish organizations in the US are calling on the Bush administration to play a more active role in promoting peace in the Middle East. In appeals to the president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, two Jewish organizations have asked the US to begin an active effort to revive the peace process and to support talks between Israel and Syria.
The Israel Policy Forum sent a letter to Rice while she was in the region last week proposing gradual steps aimed at restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The letter calls for the US to broker a cease-fire that would be followed by a reexamination of the Saudi peace initiative from 2002. The Policy Forum also called for the US to engage Syria in the peace process and to take actions to bolster Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's government.
"The need for diplomatic action is urgent," the group wrote Rice, saying that the war in Lebanon had created an opportunity to advance the peace process.
In a separate appeal, Americans for Peace Now demanded that the administration make clear that it does not oppose peace talks between Israel and Syria. "Unfortunately, many in Israel and the US believe that your administration is standing in the way of renewed Israel-Syria contacts. We urge you to clarify, publicly and expeditiously, that this is not the case," the letter, sent to Bush last month, reads.
This week, Americans for Peace Now put out a statement expressing anger at reports in the Israeli media suggesting that Bush pressured Israel to reject peace overtures from Syrian President Bashar Assad. The organization called such pressure by the president "outrages" and demanded he allow Israel to be the one who called Assad's bluff.
"It takes a lot of hutzpa to tell Israel not to even talk about peace with its neighbor," said Debra DeLee, APN president.