January 7, 2008
Dear Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:
When we met in Israel last month, we assured you of our support for the forward-looking leadership you demonstrated in Annapolis and, more generally, in strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship and pursuing peace while attending prudently to Israel’s security needs. We write today to assure you that the hopes and good wishes of the American Jewish Committee remain with you as you prepare to host President Bush on his first State Visit to Israel.
We hope that this week’s visit will enhance the special relationship between the people of Israel and the American people, as well as contribute to the peace process to which both you and President Abbas have committed yourselves. AJC, as you know, has long advocated a negotiated two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, consistent with Israel’s enduring security and well-being, and we salute your principled position on these vital questions.
AJC is mindful that the obstacles to early resolution of the conflict are formidable – in part because of the bifurcation of authority among the Palestinians, but also because of the extreme sensitivity of key issues, such as the future of Jerusalem. We understand, and seek to convey this understanding to our interlocutors, that until Palestinian political realities are altered, the process launched by you, President Bush, and President Abbas in Annapolis is likely to be constrained.
We recognize, as well, that progress will require difficult compromises by both sides. In that context, we once again express our solidarity with you, in the knowledge that compromises asked of Israel, a country that has been attacked and besieged by its neighbors throughout its almost 60-year history, may impose considerable security risks. It is Israel’s sovereign obligation, and it must remain Israel’s right, to evaluate and counter such risks.
Reiterating our admiration for your spirited response to the challenges facing Israel – and in appreciation of your contributions to the country’s remarkable achievements and impressive vitality and growth – we celebrate this week’s visit as an embodiment of U.S.-Israeli friendship. Looking toward the future, with best wishes for your every success, we remain,
Richard J. Sideman, President
David A. Harris, Executive Director
American Jewish Committee