The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) congratulates Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chairman Yasser Arafat for reaching an interim agreement within the framework of the Oslo Accords. We express our deep appreciation to President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Ambassador Dennis Ross and his team who continue to demonstrate extraordinary dedication to and perseverance in the search for Middle East peace. It is clear that without their efforts, through the long marathon sessions last week, the agreement would not have been possible. We also pay special tribute to King Hussein of Jordan who, despite his serious health situation, came to Maryland to contribute to the peacemaking effort.

As we welcome this important achievement, we also recognize that the more daunting challenge of resolving the permanent status issues, including the future of Jerusalem and the nature and size of the Palestinian entity, lies ahead. While both parties have assumed reciprocal obligations under the terms of this agreement, we believe the most crucial element is the fulfillment of the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to engage in an unequivocal and sustained fight against terrorism. As Secretary Albright has asserted repeatedly, security is the sine qua non of the peace process.

This is not a time for euphoria or exaggerated expectations. There is much hard work to be done in the months and years to come. Nevertheless, last Friday’s signing at the White House renews our hope that the ultimate vision of Oslo – a political settlement that leads to genuine reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples – can yet be realized. 



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