The signing of the mutual recognition agreement between Israel and the PLO is a great moment in the history of the Jewish people, and an historic breakthrough on the road to peace — one that is certain to change the Middle East forever. It creates an opportunity to reconcile the security interests of the Jewish State with the political aspirations of the Palestinian people.
We pray that this agreement will lead to peaceful coexistence between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors, and to full peace treaties between Israel and the Arab states.
Israel has taken great risks for peace. Its democratically elected government, acting courageously but prudently, has decided that the risks of the agreement are preferable to the dangers of the status quo.
The Palestinians and the PLO also have made a fateful choice. After nearly a half century of warfare, they have indicated their desire for coexistence rather than confrontation. Their intentions must now be tested in the negotiations that lie ahead.
Spoilers of the peace abound on both sides. PLO hardliners, Hamas extremists, and Israel right-wingers have vowed to destroy the agreement. We hope that good sense will prevail, and that the great majority of Israelis and Palestinians will commit themselves to the peaceful resolution of their differences.
THEREFORE , the Executive Committee of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves:
- To welcome and support the bold moves of the Israeli government in signing today's agreement;
- To welcome the decision of the PLO to renounce terror and confrontation with Israel and to enter into the agreement.
- To thank the Government of Norway for its critical role in making today's agreement possible;
- To express its gratitude to the Clinton Administration for its forceful support of the agreement, and its thanks to former Secretary of State Baker and former President Bush for initiating the process by bringing both sides together in Madrid;
- To call upon the American government to help assure the success of the agreement by vigilantly monitoring the compliance of the PLO with the commitments it has undertaken, by mobilizing the economic assistance necessary to make the Palestinian entity a viable one while continuing economic assistance to Israel, and by working with all parties to bring about additional agreements with Syria, Lebanon and Jordan;
- To take whatever steps are necessary, including the following, to assure that members of UAHC congregations, all North American Jews, and the American and Canadian people support the new peace agreement in the months ahead:
Call upon its Zionist affiliates, ARZA and Kadima, to develop and distribute to our congregations adult education materials explaining the meaning of the agreement and the reason it merits support;
Call upon the Commission on Jewish Education to prepare and distribute appropriate material for Reform religious schools, explaining the implications and significance of recent political developments and the need for revised perceptions of the Palestinian national movement.
Call upon the Commission on Social Action , ARZA and Kadima to develop coalitions with other Jewish organizations and institutions to encourage broad, grassroots support of the agreement and the peace process;
Direct the Interreligious Affairs Department to reach out to American and Canadian Moslems and Christians and to initiate with them cooperative efforts on behalf of Middle East peace.