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Senators want Obama to press Arabs

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two U.S. senators, a Democrat and a Republican, are circulating a letter pressing President Obama to lean on Arab nations to make peace overtures to Israel.

"Such steps could include ending the Arab League boycott of Israel, meeting openly with Israeli officials, establishing open trade relations with Israel, issuing visas to Israeli citizens, and inviting Israelis to participate in academic and professional conferences and sporting events," said the letter from Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and James Risch (R-Idaho), circulated July 23 for co-signatories. "We also believe that Arab states must immediately and permanently end official propaganda campaigns which demonize Israel and Jews."

The letter praises what it says have been Israel’s overtures, including Netanyahu’s reiteration of Israel’s backing for a two-state solution and his easing of some travel conditions in the West Bank, although it avoids mention of a settlement freeze, a component that Obama’s aides say they need in order to entice Arab leaders.

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