J Street welcomes Feinstein letter to Clinton

February 27, 2009

Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director of J Street, released the following statement:

J Street warmly welcomes the letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, circulated by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and signed by 31 other Senators, on the eve of Clinton’s trip next week to Israel and the Palestinian territories.  The letter, which supports the trip and President Obama’s vision for a new era of American engagement, is yet another example of the growing momentum behind renewed US-led peace efforts in the Middle East.

The text of the letter, with the list of signatories, is below the fold:

February 27, 2009

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

We are writing to applaud your decision to travel to Israel and the West Bank next week.  Your trip sends another important signal of the Obama Administration’s seriousness about dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last month, while announcing Senator Mitchell’s appointment as Special Middle East Peace Envoy, President Obama stated that “It will be the policy of my administration to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Israel and its Arab neighbors.”

At that same ceremony, you expressed your own commitment to Israel-Palestinian peace, noting that Senator Mitchell’s mission will be to “lead our efforts to reinvigorate the process for achieving peace between Israel and its neighbors… [to] help us to develop an integrated strategy that defends the security of Israel, works to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will result in two states, living side by side in peace and security, and to achieve further agreements to promote peace and security between Israel and its Arab neighbors” and “to support the objectives that the President and I believe are critical and pressing in Gaza, to develop a program for humanitarian aid and eventual reconstruction, working with the Palestinian Authority and Israel on behalf of those objectives.”

We commend both you and President Obama for these statements and we urge you to use your upcoming visit to Israel and the West Bank to underscore your personal commitment, and that of President Obama, to Israel’s security and to achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.  Both are vital U.S. national security interests that must not be neglected.  The continuing launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the ongoing challenge of formalizing an Israel-Hamas truce, underscore the importance of tenacious American leadership and engagement, now and in the future.

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Daniel Akaka (D-HE)
Mark Begich (D-AK)
Kit Bond (R-MO)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Thomas Carper (D-OH)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Ben Nelson (D-CO)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
David Vitter (R-LA)
George Voinovich (R-OH)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)