WASHINGTON (JTA) — A letter is circulating among U.S. senators urging President Obama to keep the Israelis and Palestinians at the negotiating table.
The letter, initiated by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), thanks Obama for restarting direct peace talks and notes the threat to their success from what it calls "enemies of peace" Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.
The letter praises Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for sticking with the talks after Hamas terrorists killed four Israelis in the West Bank as the talks were about to be launched on Aug. 31.
"We also agree with you that it is critical that all sides stay at the table," the letter says. "Neither side should make threats to leave just as the sides are getting started."
The letter is dated Sept. 24, meaning it is to be sent two days before Netanyahu’s temporary freeze on some settlement building is due to expire.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to bolt the talks if the freeze is not extended. Netanyahu wants the Obama administration to press Abbas to stay.