Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street's Executive Director, released the following statement after last week's House Appropriations Committee hearings:
J Street welcomes President Obama's and Secretary of State Clinton’s leadership in addressing the urgent humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank. We urge quick Congressional approval of the proposed Palestinian aid package in the FY2009 Supplemental Appropriations bill, as requested by the President. American aid should aim to improve the lives of the people of Gaza, alleviate human suffering, rebuild basic infrastructure, and revive the stalled economy. Achieving these goals will enhance Israeli and U.S. interests. We also believe it is in America’s interests to broaden the conditions under which assistance can flow in the event of political reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Palestinian reconciliation is one important step that could make ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict diplomatically more likely – and American Jews and Israelis understand that. 69 percent of both Israelis and American Jews would support engagement with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas. The end goal of any such engagement must be an end to terror and violence and a diplomatic resolution that results in two states living side by side. The President’s request attempts to open a small window to such reconciliation. We urge Congress – for Israel and America’s sake – to join the President in this effort as well.