OAKLAND, CA - February 9, 2005 - Jewish Voice for Peace, one of the country’s largest and oldest grassroots Jewish peace organizations, applauds the announcement of a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians. At the same time, the group says that such quiet can not be sustained without substantial moves toward ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Mitchell Plitnick, JVP’s Director of Education and Policy, said, “It’s wonderful that both sides have pledged to stop bombings and shootings. But as long as other forms of violence continue, the cease-fire will be short-lived. The occupation, with its home demolitions, checkpoints and daily harassments, and a wall slicing through the West Bank and disrupting daily Palestinian life, is itself a constant and massive act of violence.”
While pleased with America’s provision of $350 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority, and the support it has given to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas since his election, Jewish Voice for Peace insists that much more is needed if this truce is to last.
Plitnick said, “Today is a day to celebrate the lives that will not be lost in the coming days. But if we want this cease-fire to last the American government needs to stay the course. It needs to stand by both the Palestinian and the Israeli people and push hard for the dismantling of the wall, and for the Gaza withdrawal to be replicated on the West Bank.”
“There needs to be consistent progress toward ending the occupation if we want to avoid sliding right back into the fighting. And that means the Palestinians get the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they share Jerusalem with Israel and the two countries come up with a just resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue consistent with international law. That’s where we need to go, and if we’re not moving toward that future we’ll be moving right back to bombs, tanks, missiles and guns.”
Jewish Voice for Peace has become the largest grassroots Jewish peace group in the United States. We mobilize a national and international constituency of Jews to push for a change in Israeli and U.S. policies. Our dedicated volunteer activists spearhead our campaigns and programs, which include lobbying, direct actions, media activism, education and outreach, and solidarity work. We employ a full time staff of three. We sponsor a daily email service, Jewish Peace News, with thousands of subscribers throughout the world.