Thal: "While we are disappointed that an overall agreement was not reached, we are encouraged by the intense negotiations over the past two weeks and by the negotiating breakthroughs that were achieved
. We urge all parties not to allow this modest but important progress to dissipate." "
NEW YORK July 25, 2000 — Rabbi Lennard Thal, Vice President of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, issued the following statement today in response to the end of the Camp David summit:
We are deeply disappointed by the news that the Camp David summit has ended without a significant agreement. Like so many around the world, and especially in the Middle East, we were hopeful that an agreement would prove reachable, and that the summit would achieve real progress on the path to peace. The lack of a final agreement should not obscure the need for progress, nor the danger of allowing violence to again erupt in the region.
We commend the leaders for their serious and exhaustive efforts to narrow the gaps on the most difficult issues between Israel and the Palestinians. We especially applaud Prime Minister Barak for his heroic commitment to the pursuit of peace, working to fulfill the vision of his mentor, Yitzchak Rabin. He has shown tremendous courage in resisting opposition both at home and abroad and working tirelessly to fulfill his pledge to make real the promise of peace for Israel and her neighbors.
While we are disappointed that an overall agreement was not reached, we are encouraged by the intense negotiations over the past two weeks and by the breakthroughs that were achieved. We know that some progress was, in fact, made, and that the negotiators were able to engage in face-to-face talks on subjects — such as the status of Jerusalem — they had not been able to address previously. We urge all parties not to allow this modest but important progress to dissipate.
We also wish to salute President Clinton for his personal dedication to the negotiations, working around the clock with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to seek a final peace agreement. He has proven himself to be a true rodeph shalom, a pursuer of peace. President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and the entire U.S. team deserve the gratitude of all those who care about peace. It is well worth noting that the "trilateral statement" issued at the summit's conclusion stated that all sides agree that the United States "remains a vital partner in the search for peace."
As Prime Minister Barak, Chairman Arafat and their delegations return to the region, we offer our prayers for peace in a region that has known so much war and so much bloodshed. We pray that the talks will soon resume and that our eternal hope for peace will soon be realized.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis.