Aya Azrielant and architect
ISRAEL POLICY FORUM
Seekers of Peace
In Mideast Conflict
Story and Photos by Tim Boxer
SRAEL POLICY FORUM chairman Jack Bendheim brought Charles Schumer to the podium as the senior senator from New York. Schumer remarked that he was once introduced as the senior citizen from New York.
Schumer said the only answer to the Israeli-Arab conflict is land for peace. He urged guests at the IPF dinner at Chelsea Piers to support Pres. George W. Bush’s appeal for Israel to withdraw its troops from Palestinian towns.
Gen. Ephraim Sneh, Israeli transportation minister, differed on that point.
While supporting the Oslo formula in which “the Palestinian Authority promised to fight terrorism and Israel promised to agree to a Palestinian sovereign state,” Sneh added that “negotiations cannot succeed while terrorists are permitted to act freely.”
Robert K. Lifton and
He went on to defend Prime Minister Sharon’s pursuit of terrorists in the territories.
“We have already apprehended or killed the planners of the recent wave of suicide bombings. We should support the current military mission in the West Bank.”
George Mitchell, who brokered a cessation of violence in Northern Ireland and advanced a highly touted formula for peace in the Mideast, noted the six senators in attendance at the IPF dinner. “That’s more than I could get to listen to me when I was senate majority leader,” he cracked.
Fred Howard and
Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
“There are so many speakers on the program, I feel like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s eighth husband. On their honeymoon he said, ‘I know what to do, but how do I make it interesting?’
“Like him, I’ll try to be brief.”
Mitchell said he was “disheartened by the failure to implement” his report, issued 11 months ago, but “it is still relevant.”
Among the recommendations of the Mitchell Report is a freeze on all settlements, which prompted hearty applause from the audience.
Mitchell was entirely positive about the prospects for peace between Israelis and Arabs. “There is no such thing as a conflict that can’t be ended,” he said.
Rep. Charles Rangel.
Founded in 1993 by Michael Sonnenfeldt and Robert K. Lifton, IPF honored Gail Furman, assistant clinical professor at New York University Medical School; Peter Joseph, general partner at Palladium Equity Partners investment firm, and philanthropist Marcia Riklis.
Among the 900 dinner guests were world renowned jewelry designer Aya Azrielant, actor Richard Dreyfuss, singer Debbie Friedman, Seymour Reich, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Meshulam Riklis and ambassadors from Egypt, Turkey and Oman.