AJC: Best Wishes for President Bush on First Israel Visit

January 7, 2007 - New York - The American Jewish Committee, in a letter to President George W. Bush, expressed its best wishes on his first official visit to Israel, and reiterated its commitment to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We have every faith that your first visit to Israel as President will contribute to the peace process you launched at Annapolis six weeks ago with Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas, in the presence of more than 40 other world leaders," wrote AJC.

AJC also expressed solidarity with the Israeli people, noting the considerable risks Israel faces as "a country that has been attacked and besieged by its neighbors throughout its almost 60-year history."

The full text of the letter is below:

January 7, 2008

Dear Mr. President:

As you begin your mission to the Middle East with the purpose of advancing the causes of peace, stability and democracy in that vital region, please know that the hopes and good wishes of the American Jewish Committee are with you.

We have every faith that your first visit to Israel as President will contribute to the peace process you launched at Annapolis six weeks ago with Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas, in the presence of more than 40 other world leaders.

The American Jewish Committee, dedicated to assuring Israel’s well-being and long supportive of a negotiated two-state solution in which the Jewish state of Israel will coexist in security and peace with a Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza, looks forward to the results of the process you have initiated.

AJC is mindful that the obstacles to early resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli 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. Until Palestinian political realities are altered, the process launched in Annapolis is likely to be constrained. We are hopeful that the process itself will help alter these realities.

We recognize that progress will require difficult compromises by both sides. In that context, we express our solidarity with and support for Prime Minister Olmert, 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.

We know that you, as a dedicated friend of Israel and an outspoken advocate of a secure two-state solution, appreciate the dangers Israel faces now and in the years ahead.

Reiterating our admiration for your steadfastness in confronting the many challenges of the Middle East, and with our best wishes for the success of this critical mission, we remain,

Respectfully,


Richard J. Sideman

David A. Harris
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