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Paris, 6th October: the first JCall meeting, in the presence of A.B. Yehoshua, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Henri Weber and Alain Finkielkraut

The 6th of October, at 8 pm, we organize the first JCall meeting in France. It will take place in the Rossini room of the 9th arrondissement’s Town Hall, 6 rue Drouot.

The Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua, winner of the Bialik Prize and the Israel Prize, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Henri Weber and Alain Finkielkraut, all signatories of JCall, will participate in the evening’s discussions during which we will present the new French association of JCall and its objectives.

This meeting will be held a few days after the envisioned end of the settlement freeze. We will know at that date if the Israeli government decided to extend the freeze or if any other solution has been founded to allow the continuation of the negotiations started at the beginning of September, under the auspices of President Obama, between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas.

We have welcomed the reopening of direct negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. The presence of President Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, and of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the meeting which took place this week in Sharm El Sheih and Jerusalem, shows how strongly the current Administration is committed to successfully establish a peace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians within a year.

We are aware that getting the two parties to sit down together is only the first step in a difficult process during which both sides will have to display considerable courage as well as genuine political leadership. This round of negotiations will be successful only with the determined support of the whole international community. First and foremost the United States, but also the Quartet and the Arab League, must help both parties overcome obstacles and take difficult yet inevitable decisions. This is the only way to secure a two-state solution, the sole means by which Israelis and Palestinians may live peacefully within internationally recognized borders.

We all know that time is of essence : the window of opportunity opened on September 2nd in Washington may well be the last chance to work towards a two-state solution, which is the only way for Israel to remain democratic and retain a Jewish majority.

The stakes are high, but so are the hopes and expectations of the two populations a large majority of which favors a two-state solution. The status quo cannot be sustained any longer.

One of JCall’s objectives is to open up the debate within European Jewish communities. Just like the one that takes place in Israel, this debate is increasingly vital and we will lead it in France as well as in most European countries where JCall structures are currently being set put.

The resumption of negotiations makes our initiative even more important because it will be necessary to encourage the protagonists on the long way they have to travel to meet one another halfway and reach an agreement. Our aim is to accompany them on this way and mobilize the majority of the European Jewish citizens who support a two state solution as well as the European diplomacies.

We hope that the coming New Year will be the year of real progress towards peace and security for Israel and for all the peoples of the Middle East.

JCall wishes you a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

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