Campaigns Share TPP with your Daily Newspaper End Wars and Occupations A Ceasefire and Lasting Peace: Why Israel and Hamas Must Agree to an Immediate Ceasefire, and Israelis and Palestinians Must Sign and Successfully Implement A Final Status “Land For Peace” Agreement Now
Saturday, 26 July 2014 13:06

A Ceasefire and Lasting Peace: Why Israel and Hamas Must Agree to an Immediate Ceasefire, and Israelis and Palestinians Must Sign and Successfully Implement A Final Status “Land For Peace” Agreement Now

Written by  Harriet Fulbright President, J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center

PDAers have, with the rest of the world, reacted with outrage and heartbreak to the violence in Israel and Gaza.  Board members like Medea Benjamin have worked for decades to bring attention to that area of the world, to its crying need for peace with justice. PDA was founded during the 2004 Democratic Convention in opposition to the Iraq War, which was being silenced by “official” party leaders. Our Inside/Outside strategy brought street heat to the suites, opening up our political process to the nonviolent call of Dr. Martin Luther King: turn from perpetual war to meeting human need. Nonviolence grounds all our policy advocacy: Healthcare Not Warfare; Windmills Not Weapons.

Joel Segal, legislative staffer for John Conyers (D-MI) brought Rep. Conyers to our Advisory Board and joined it himself as a founding member. He has since become Emeritus, in part due to his devoting full-time work to developing the Middle East Peace Working Group, which fosters dialogue, behind the scenes, on a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine.,

Middle East Peace Working Group (MEPWG) has issued a public letter signed by its Chair, Harriet Fulbright, and others. PDA is proud to share it, and thanks our friend Joel for his witness and peace work.
                                                                   ~Mimi Kennedy, PDA Advisory Board Chair

The decades old tragic conflict between Israel and Palestine is morally unacceptable; it has gone on for far too long and it must now come to an end. The recent escalation of the endless cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians living in Gaza will only result in the needless deaths of both Palestinian and Israelis---God’s children made in God's image who deserve to live in peace, security, and with prosperity and dignity. Nothing is more precious than human life and human dignity and the ability to live in peace, with security, stability, and shared prosperity. A long term solution that will bring a peace, justice, security, and economic prosperity to all involved parties remains possible and it is all the more imperative.

The majority of Israelis and Palestinians want to live, raise their families, and enjoy their lives in peace. Poll after poll consistently have shown that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians support a just two state solution and peace--as do the majority of American Jews and expatriate Palestinians. So why does this conflict continue unabated if the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians support a just two state solution and peace?

Perhaps it’s because the “silent majority” who support Middle East peace and justice for far too long have been silenced; they have lacked cooperation, consistent media visibility, and the requisite political and strategic unity to foster change and their voices overwhelmed by the hardliners on all sides. Although politically active, Middle East peace advocates have been working in their independent silos, and have not successfully amplified the voices of reason, sanity, and peace to win the hearts and minds of the people or elected officials inside and outside of the Middle East. The time has come for new leaders, increased cooperation, bold new ideas, and positive viable long term solutions to end the unnecessary conflict between Israel and Palestine.

A newly energized Middle East peace movement must call for an immediate cease fire between Israel and Gaza. We must call on the Israelis and Palestinians to immediately go back to the negotiating table, with the sponsorship and supervision of the United States, United Nations, G8, and the Arab League. Furthermore, President Obama and Congress must oppose Israel’s settlement expansion. This ill-conceived policy undermines the viability of a two-state solution and exacerbates the conflict. We call on President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and Congress to actively re-engage in robust diplomacy, because we understand that long term peace and stability between Israel and Palestine can only be achieved through a historic “land for peace” agreement, one that will create true security for Israel and dignity and justice for the Palestinian people. After a final status agreement has been signed, Israel and Palestine can normalize relations, exchange Ambassadors, and cooperate on solar energy projects, water reclamation projects, agricultural and technological exchanges, and trade relations. Israel and the new demilitarized independent Palestinian state could work together to promote robust economic growth, and a jobs-for-all policy at a livable wage that would benefit both nations. It is imperative that global leaders work closely with the people of Palestine to end poverty and unacceptably high rates of unemployment in Gaza and Palestine. A peace agreement could help create a growing middle class in a new state of Palestine—an essential component in promoting peace and stability in the region. People who have something for which to live, peace, and economic prosperity are far less likely to commit acts of violence, surrender their lives, or seek the lives of others.

We strongly believe that Israel must live in peace and security. However, we believe this will not be achieved through an indefinite occupation, home demolitions, the illegal detention of Palestinians, the building of more disruptive settlements, long term economic sanctions that harm the people of Gaza, and the continued use of lethal force--resulting in the tragic deaths of innocent Palestinian and Israeli civilians, teenagers, and children. After a cease fire has gone into effect, the Israeli government should allow food and medicine into Gaza, and support rather than impede its reconstruction.

Furthermore, HAMAS cannot achieve their goals of opening up the border between Gaza and Egypt, releasing prisoners from Israeli jails, and ending the economic embargo as long as militants in Gaza kidnap and execute innocent Israeli teenagers, attack and kill Israelis via secret tunnels, or shower thousands of lethal rockets on Israeli civilians. We call on HAMAS to join the peace process, to recognize Israel’s right to exist, to renounce terror and violence, and allow the United Nations and the international community open inspections of secret tunnels and other locations where rockets, offensive weapons, and armaments are being stored. Otherwise, the government of Israel will continue to bomb and kill more innocent civilians, who you claim to represent, in order to stop your lethal rocket attacks.

We also call on the Israeli government to make it crystal clear to the settlers, and all Israelis, that any acts of violence and terror against the Palestinian people will be met with swift and severe punishment. No longer can the Israeli government act with impunity against the innocent civilians in Palestine, and no longer can HAMAS act with impunity against the citizens of Israel. We, therefore, call on the Israelis and the Palestinians to go back to the negotiating table now, and sign a historic peace agreement based on decades of prior peace agreements and negotiations that include land swaps and modified 1967 borders. The most optimal, viable, sane, and rational solution to end the needless conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is through a political solution that can only be achieved through sustained international diplomacy, compromise, and the sharing of land and holy sites.

Years of experience have shown us that peace will not be achieved by elected officials and diplomats alone. There must be an organized, strategic, and a moral based Middle East peace movement that can apply relentless pressure on extremist politicians and citizens inside and outside of Israel and Palestine who actively work against peace. The good news is there is a growing number of Americans, Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and people from all walks of life who for years have been working tirelessly for peace and justice, are finding each other, and are beginning to work together for a just Middle East peace.

There will be peace between Israel and Palestine someday. The question is when and how many more will be killed between now and then. There is no better time than now. We see the consequence of failure in the daily news, and it is ugly. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us of the importance of taking advantage of the "fierce urgency of now." There is only the present in which we can work, and it is time that we seize this opportunity for peace!

Harriet Fulbright, President, J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center
Marcia Dyson, Middle East Peace Working Group
Chic Dambach, National Director, Middle East Peace Working Group
Rabbi John Freirich, Middle East Peace Working Group
Reverend Rodney Sadler, Ph.D., Middle East Peace Working Group
Shahin Mafi, Middle East Peace Working Group
Mark Harrison, Middle East Peace Working Group
Hassan Massali, Ph.,D., President, Action For Democracy And Human Rights in the Middle East
Joel Segal, National Policy Advisor, Middle East Peace Working Group

*The Middle East Working Group is a Washington DC based civil society coalition of Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, Christians, faith leaders, academics, and ordinary citizens who want to end the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and advocate for a just two state solution.


Read 3723 times Last modified on Monday, 28 July 2014 14:16

Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track - Where Does Your Legislator Stand

Click your state to see your Senators and Representatives

Green = Most Legislators Oppose Fast Track, Yellow = Some Opposition, Orange = Oppose TPP, Gray = Unknown
DeLauro 13 - Signed 2013 DeLauro/Miller letter
Pocan - Signed Freshman Letter Opposing Fast Track
W/M - Signed Ways and Means Letter opposing TPP
Gibson - Signed Rep. Chris Gibson letter opposing TPP
SOPA - Oppose Stop Online Piracy Act - voted against
Currency - Oppose Currency Manipulation (Signed Michaud Letter)
Textile - Oppose changes to "First Yarn" (Signed Textile Industry Letter)

Published Letters to the Editor

  • Pacific trade pact would do more harm than good: Guest opinion

    If government and big business representatives from 12 countries spend years negotiating a massive new trade bill but don't tell the general public about it, does it still go into effect? Can it still accelerate the flow of American jobs to countries that have abysmal records on human rights and labor rights, countries like Vietnam? Can it still spur a race to the bottom where Americans forfeit their moral, environmental and employment standards for larger trade deficits of cheap imported goods and minimum wage employment at home?

    Written on Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00

Join our Twitter Storm

If you have a Twitter account you can help stop Fast Track on the TPP. Sign-in to your Twitter account and copy and paste the Tweets from our Twitter storm. Or you can copy your favorite Tweet and then click on the map and Tweet your legislator.

Twitter Storm Tweets for Tuesday, January 28th @ 9pm Eastern

Tweets for the special State of the Union Twitter Storm will be posted on January 28th at 8pm EST. Check back for the new Tweets.

Find Your Member of Congress

Click here to quickly find your member of Congress by putting in your home address. This site also features a one-click link to the same information in Spanish


Then call and ask them to oppose Fast Track on the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Sample script is below.


“I'm a constituent, and I am strongly opposed to my representative giving away Congress’ constitutional authority to control our trade policy. We send people to Congress to stand up for us, not give away their power to stop more American job offshoring and protect us from dangerous imported food that doesn’t meet our safety standards. This latest so-called trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), would not only do that - but also ban Buy American and increase our medicine prices. That’s why it’s crucial that Congress not give away its authority to make sure every provision of TPP is in our interest before this massive deal can be signed. Good trade deals don’t need to be railroaded through Congress using Fast Track. I hope my representative will commit to opposing this outrageous legislation.”

Email Your Senators and Rep - Say No On Fast Track and TPP

Send an email directly to your Senators and Representatives courtesy of our partners at CWA. Enter your zip code and your members are automatically selected.


Sign the ERA Petition


On Friday, September 12th more than 150 activists will go to DC and Demand that their Senators and Representatives support removing the ratification deadline from the ERA (SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 113)


Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016


Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of

Flush the TPP

Congress only has one more week in session this year, the week of December 9. So far our pressure to stop the TPP has been working. Visit Flush the TPP for calling scripts and links to Members of the Ways and Means Committee.

Flush the TPP