PRESS RELEASE ē DECEMBER 18, 2001

Jewish Delegation Meets Arafat in Ramallah

Contact: Charles Lenchner, 056-417-658, clenchner01@yahoo.com, or
Joshua Ruebner, 056-716-623, josh@jppi.org

Ramallah, Palestine (December 15, 2001) A delegation of American Jews sponsored by Jewish Unity for a Just Peace (JUNITY) and Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel (JPPI) met Palestinian President Yasser Arafat at his headquarters in Ramallah today.

President Arafat and the delegation of American Jews discussed various issues related to the current political situation in Israel and Palestine.

The delegation expressed its support for a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel based upon the implementation of applicable United Nations (UN) resolutions and principles of international law. The delegation told Arafat that it supports an end to Israelís military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.

President Arafat responded directly to the comments of the American Jewish delegation, stressing the commitment of the Palestinian people to a shared, peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians. President Arafat thanked the members of the delegation for coming to Ramallah to support peace and made special reference to his seminal meeting with American Jewish leaders in Stockholm in 1988.

Earlier in the day, the American Jewish delegation, as a part of the International Solidarity Movement, lay down in front of Israeli tanks that had reoccupied Palestinian territory in Ramallah. The peaceful action demonstrated the delegationís strong opposition to Israelís continuing military occupation.

The sponsors of the delegation are JUNITY, a network of dozens of grassroots American and international Jewish organizations and individuals that support a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and JPPI, the Washington, DC affiliate of JUNITY. The delegation is working with both Israeli and Palestinian partners in the region and will participate in the International Solidarity Movement together with delegations from around the world.

This is the first officially sponsored delegation of American Jews to engage in solidarity actions with both the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps since the outbreak of the Intifada in September 2000.

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