Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
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Reform Jewish Movement Welcomes Bush Initiative in Resolving the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

Saperstein: We welcome the Administration's involvement and the President's leadership in working to bring about a negotiated settlement and an end to the violence that has plagued the region for almost two years

Contact: Lauren Schumer or Daniel Kaufman (202) 387-2800

Washington, DC, June 24, 2002 - Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, applauded President Bush's speech detailing the future of American foreign policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict. Calling for major reform of the Palestinian Authority as a necessary first step to the creation of an independent Palestinian state, President Bush urged both sides to take critical steps toward peace.

Rabbi Saperstein responded to the speech with the following comments:

The initiative shown in the President's speech this afternoon is a bright spot in an otherwise dark situation. We welcome the Administration's involvement and the President's leadership in working to bring about a negotiated settlement and an end to the violence that has plagued the region for almost two years. It is painfully obvious that the status quo of death, destruction, and terror cannot remain.

The situation does not have a simple solution. As the President recognized, hard compromises are required for Israel and the Palestinians to achieve peace, security, and regional stability. What the President has made clear, and we welcome, is that it is now up to the Palestinian people to implement the governmental reforms desperately needed for those negotiations to succeed. Similarly, Israel should refrain from actions which will jeopardize the long-term prospects of peace. Clearly not everyone will like everything the President had to say today, but just as clearly, his proposals have the potential to rekindle the hopes for peace. The Reform Movement welcomes the President's leadership and stands ready to work with him, and all friends of peace, in moving past the bloody and deadly status quo.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose over 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1800 Reform rabbis .

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