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Brandeis U Students Urge Israel to Seek Ways for Peace with Palestinian Arabs

A group of Brandeis University students who declare themselves to be “firmly committed to the survival of Israel” called on the government and people of Israel today to take decisive new steps in the search for peace with Palestinian Arabs. A statement issued by the Jewish Activist League, a sub-group within the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation on the Brandeis campus, urged several measures that diverge sharply from the present policies of the Israel government and from statements by some Israeli leaders. These measures include recognition by the Israel government “of the Palestinian people and of the validity of the concept of a separate, self-determined Palestinian state”; an unequivocal declaration by Israel of its intent to withdraw from all occupied territories except Jerusalem, within the framework of a peace settlement; and Israeli financial contributions to improve the condition of Palestinian Arab refugees and to back various independent efforts at Arab-Jewish reconciliation in Israel. The statement issued by the Jewish Activist League was addressed to the Israel Emergency Fund of the United Jewish Appeal as well as to “the political leaders and citizenry of Israel.” It pointed out that the 2000-member student body at Brandeis raised over $2000 for the Israel Emergency Fund in the campaign just ended, a record for that campus. The students suggested that the proceeds of the emergency fund and other drives be used to aid groups involved in Arab-Jewish reconciliation in Israel such as Sicah, Givat Haviva and the Israel Movement for Arab Jewish Co-operation.

Other measures proposed by the group to help achieve peace was a ban by Israel on Jewish settlement in the occupied territories, such as in Hebron, which “can only be construed as an act of colonization and imperialism, policies of which Israelis often unjustly accused.” In calling on Israel to continue improving the condition of the refugees, the Jewish Activists suggested support of the summer boys camp organized by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) at the Deir Ammar camp. The statement also called upon Israel to allow various independent efforts at Arab-Jewish reconciliation in Israel. The JAL said many of its members have been to Israel or intend to visit or settle there and have rendered aid to Israel during and since the June, 1967 war. “Our perspectives should not be mistakenly identified with the self-hatred that is typical of some American Jews…We proudly identify as Jews and firmly are committed to the survival of Israel and to the creative continuity of Jewish life,” the statement said. It declared further, “We are dedicated to the cause of peace in Israel and elsewhere. We have become increasingly alarmed over recent developments in the Middle East, including the stepped-up hostilities, the increased killing of Jewish and Arab civilians, young and old, in Israel, in the occupied territories. in Egypt and the growing and ominous involvement of Russia.”

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