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Conference of Presidents leaders: Renewed Middle East negotiations offer new opportunities towards resolution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said, “the announcement by Secretary of State John Kerry of the resumption of talks after a long hiatus between representatives of the government of Israel and of the Palestinian Authority brings hope of new opportunities to move towards a peaceful resolution and an end of the conflict that has taken such a heavy toll. The government of Israel has once again demonstrated the extent of its commitment by the difficult and even painful decision to release 104 prisoners, many of whom are guilty of the murder of innocent Israeli civilians, and, understandably, evoked much negative reaction. While there will be many who object for understandable reasons, the government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu made a decision based on their commitment to pursuing every avenue that could lead towards meaningful negotiations. Secretary Kerry demonstrated a dedication to this matter and worked hard to get initial steps implemented.  We hope the meeting that will convene today in Washington will lead to further negotiations and a resolution of all claims. We stand with the government of Israel and the United States and hope that the Palestinian leadership will end the demand for preconditions and placing obstacles so that the negotiations can move ahead. We hope that Israel’s very serious concession will be matched with an end to incitement and other measures by the Palestinian Authority. Both peoples need peace and it is long overdue, especially given the other crises in the region. We know that the overwhelming majority of the people of Israel support efforts to achieve peace, but it must be a just and lasting peace, and not lead to just another stage in the decades-old war against Israel.  The resumption after a long hiatus of the talks presents the only way for peace to be achieved, that is through direct negotiations and not the imposition by outside powers or unilateral measures at the United Nations or other international fora. Secretary Kerry worked hard over the last six months to achieve this important step which we hope will be the beginning of a meaningful process.  We must be patient and work with the parties to assure that the fundamental needs are met, providing security and prospects of a better future for all.”

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