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Start of Peace Talks Brings New Hope for Peace and Security to Middle East

Saperstein: "Today's announcement brings new hope that the New Year may be, indeed, a year of peace."

Contact: Sean Thibault
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 20, 2010 -- In response to the announcement by Secretary of State Clinton that Israel and her neighbors will begin direct peace negotiations, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action of Center, issued the following statement:

We welcome today's announcement by Secretary of State Clinton that Israel and her neighbors will begin direct peace negotiations on September 2nd in Washington. We commend President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Special Envoy Mitchell for their determined effort to move a viable peace process forward, and we urge all parties to accept this important invitation.

Today's announcement is at once the culmination of 18 months of consistent effort by the Obama Administration and the beginning of a critical series of talks. Convening the parties is itself an impressive achievement, but Secretary Clinton would certainly be among the first to emphasize that it is not an end unto itself. The goal has been, and must remain, a just, enforceable, lasting agreement which will allow Israelis and Palestinians to live, and to thrive, in two states. Such a peace, ensuring Israel's security and fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, is vital to enhancing U.S. values and interests.

In the Jewish calendar, we are just weeks away from Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the New Year. Today's announcement brings new hope that the New Year may be, indeed, a year of peace. We hope and pray - and recommit ourselves to working to ensure -- that this may be the year in which the bloodshed ends and a new Middle East is born.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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