AIPAC hails congressional peace letters

AIPAC hailed three congressional letters to President Bush urging him to continue his efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

One letter was signed by 268 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the other by 77 U.S. senators, including John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Those letters were first circulated during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference at the beginning of June. AIPAC activists lobbied for the letters on the last day of the conference.

A third was sent separately by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“AIPAC applauds Congress for sending a strong bipartisan signal of American support for Israel’s quest for peace, and calling on Arab states to fulfill their responsibilities to the peace process by reaching out to Israel and supporting the moderate Palestinian leadership financially and politically, while isolating Hamas and other terrorist and rejectionist elements,” the lobby said in a statement last week after the House letter was sent.

The House and Senate letters urged Bush to continue pressing for peace, while noting the precariousness of the situation on Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas terrorists. They also urged Bush to press Arab states to do more to support Palestinian moderates.

“Mr. President, we know you face many challenges in the Middle East and elsewhere over the next few months,” the Senate letter concluded. “We urge you to continue your efforts to advance the Israel/Palestinian negotiations, to support Israel’s right to self defense against the growing threats from Gaza, and to demand that the Arab states do more to support these negotiations.”

Obama’s letter made similar points, but also called on Bush to support Israel-Syria talks, something the White House has not yet done.

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