Thursday, May 14, 2009

War or Peace in the Middle East?

Subject: Will Obama do as he’s told?

Message from our good Friend Ricken Patel the founder of;!

Dear friends,

The Middle East is poised between war and peace as Obama prepares to meet Israel's PM Netanyahu. The only hope is for Obama to take a bold lead for peace, but Israel's foreign minister says Obama will do as he’s told. Watch and support the new TV ad calling for an Obama plan for mid-east peace:

Click here to watch;

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will face US President Obama for the first time – in a meeting that could make the difference between war and peace in the Middle East.[1]

Ordinary Israelis and Palestinians still want peace, and polls show they want Obama to lead.[2] Experts agree that only such strong leadership from Obama can forge an agreement now, but powerful extremists in the region and the US stand in his way. Israel’s far-right foreign minister is even boasting that Obama will do as he’s told.[3]

On Monday we’ll find out – Netanyahu will ask Obama to take a back seat in a new flawed process designed to fail. We urgently need to show Obama that ordinary people in the region and around the world will back him to exercise a strong and fair leadership role – click below to watch the new TV ad campaign and help saturate the US airwaves with it in the next 72 hours:;

The situation in the Middle East is dire – the King of Jordan warned yesterday that there are only two choices now – war or peace.[4] Israel’s new governing coalition has extremists in the driving seat and is seeking war with Iran and Hamas, while promoting illegal settlement (a euphemism for colonization) and de facto annexation of Palestinian land – corralling Palestinians into small pockets and subjecting them to constant harassment. Gaza remains under crippling blockade, unable even to get the materials to rebuild from the destruction of the war. Palestinians have flawed and divided leadership and are caught between the corruption of the secular Fatah leadership and extremism among the religious Hamas, and small numbers of rockets continue to be fired at Israel. Ordinary people on both sides are losing hope in a peaceful two-state solution to end the 40 year occupation and conflict.

But there is hope. New polls show clear majorities of support for Obama to lead a new peace effort, and a recent extensive consultation by the Avaaz team in the region confirmed that on all sides people want Obama to rescue the situation with a fair peace proposal and pressure on both sides to agree to it. Powerful extremists in Israel and the US are determined to block this last chance at peace. Their new strategy: avoid directly opposing Obama, but feign a new interest in peace and bog him down in endless talks that are designed to fail.

We can’t let that happen. There has never been a powerful worldwide movement for peace in Israel-Palestine that can challenge the extremists and back leaders like Obama to do the right thing. Let’s get this ad on the air, and let Obama and everyone else know that this movement is coming:;

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Paul, Raluca, Brett, Raj, Alice, Pascal, Graziela, Luis, Ben, Paula, Iain and the rest of the Avaaz team.

1. Bloomberg, “Obama to Confront Israeli Settlement Surge in Netanyahu Meeting”:;

2. Avaaz’s own polls on this are about to be released – also see e.g. Yediot Aharonot poll, May 2009:;,7340,L-3715759,00.html

Hebrew University of Jerusalem polls:;

3. Lieberman’s statement that the US will follow Israel’s lead was made to Russia’s Moskovskiy Komsomolets – see The Forward, 22 April 2009:;

4. “King Abdullah of Jordan's ultimatum: peace now or it’s war next year", The Times of London, 11 May 2009:;


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