Senators sign AIPAC-backed letter on Mideast


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Seventy-six senators have signed an AIPAC-backed letter to President Obama urging that "every effort should be made to realize" an Arab-Israeli peace and laying out certain "key principles" to achieve it.

The letter states that while "the United States has an important role to play, the parties themselves are the ones who will need to negotiate and live with whatever agreement is reached" and "we must take into account the risks" Israel will face in any peace agreement.

"Without a doubt, our two governments will agree on some issues and disagree on others, but the United States’ friendship with Israel requires that we work closely together as we recommit ourselves to our historic role of a trusted friend and active mediator," states the letter.

Spearheaded by Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), the missive also emphasized that the U.S. must "insist on the absolute Palestinian commitment to ending terrorist violence" and hopes that the president will "promote far greater involvement and participation by the Arab states" in the process.

 "AIPAC strongly applauds Congress for this important expression of bipartisan support for U.S. efforts to help Israel achieve peace with all her Arab neighbors," said AIPAC spokesman Josh Block.

A similar House letter, according to a Hill source, is still gathering signatures, and as of Tuesday had 195 members who had signed on.

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