http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org

American Jewish Groups, Congressional Leaders Join Israeli Peace Activist
in Condemning the Escalation of the Middle East Conflict
October 24, 2001

Contacts:
            Adam Gutride (415) 271-6469
            Lincoln Shlensky (510) 841-5967
            Mitchell Plitnick (510) 526-7913

San Francisco, Oct. 25 - A coalition of American Jewish peace
organizations and Congressional representatives met today with
veteran Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, who is in the U.S. to
advocate a stronger U.S. role in forcing Israel and the Palestinian
Authority back to the negotiating table.

Avnery, an Israeli war hero, former member of the Israeli Knesset
(parliament) and leader of the Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom, is
currently touring several major U.S. cities.  He joined the American
Jewish groups and Congressional leaders today in condemning new
Israeli invasions of Palestinian self-rule areas that have led to an
escalation of the conflict.

Mr. Avnery has long called for Israel to end its occupation of the
West Bank and Gaza and establish an independent and sovereign state
of Palestine in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.  He
and his wife, Rachel, were recently awarded the Right Livelihood
Award, commonly known as the "alternative Nobel Prize," for their
efforts on behalf of a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

The meeting was organized by a Washington-based group, Jews for Peace
in Palestine and Israel.  Other groups represented included A Jewish
Voice for Peace and the Coalition of Jews for Justice, of the San
Francisco Bay Area; Not In My Name, of Chicago; and JUNITY, an
international network of Jewish peace activists.

Members of A Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) said that they were urging
Congress to heed the voices of the many Israelis who call for the
United States to intervene in the conflict now.  "Our message is
simple: 'Just say NO to escalation; say YES to a negotiated peace,'"
Lincoln Shlensky, a JVP member said.  "The U.S. must give the two
sides incentive to return to peaceful negotiation, and threaten
sanctions if they do not."

In the wake of the assassination by Palestinian militants last week
of Minister of Tourism Rechavam Ze'evi, Israel has invaded areas
under limited Palestinian self-rule.  Over forty Palestinians,
including women and children, have died as a result.

"A Jewish Voice For Peace unequivocally condemns Ze'evi's
assassination," said Mitchell Plitnick, another JVP spokesperson.
"But we condemn equally the Israeli policy of 'extrajudicial
killings' that have contributed to the cycle of violence and
retribution.  Furthermore, the assassination of Ze'evi in no way
justifies the overwhelming Israeli response, which has included
killing 40 people and damaging hospitals in Bethlehem and Beit Jala."

"Our government must help achieve Palestinian self-determination and
security for both peoples.  A just peace in Israel and Palestine is
necessary to regional stability in other conflict zones, including
Afghanistan," added Adam Gutride, a spokesperson for A Jewish Voice
for Peace.

A Jewish Voice for Peace is a Bay Area grassroots organization
dedicated to the human, civil and economic rights of all peoples in
the Middle East.  For further information about A Jewish Voice for
Peace, please visit www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

______________________________________________________________________

A Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a San Francisco Bay Area grassroots
organization dedicated to the human, civil and economic rights of Jews, Palestinians, and all peoples in the Middle East.

For more information about JVP, please visit our web site at
http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org

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