Middle East update:
August 10, 2006
It has been a month since the Israel/Lebanon conflict began, and three weeks since I signed on to H. Con. Res. 450, the cease-fire resolution submitted by Congressman Dennis Kucinich. And, sadly, the violence has only intensified on all sides.

It is imperative that the immediate step we take is to stop the blaming, the charges and countercharges, and enter into a ceasefire, so that we may bring humanitarian aid to all the victims of violence. It is important that all parties engage in this ceasefire with good will.

We must also engage in education and negotiation to provide all citizens and peoples of the region security, economic growth and livelihood. We must approach each other with respect and accept the challenge of understanding the varied perspectives in which we are engaged.

We will not find the answers overnight, but we can start by asking the questions and listening to all the answers.

U.S. Senate Candidate Endorses Call for Cease-Fire in Middle East
July 20, 2006
Jean Hay Bright, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine, has endorsed the Joint Congressional Resolution (H.Con. Res. 450) submitted by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) this week, calling for an immediate cease fire of violence in the Middle East and a commitment by the United States to diplomatic, multi-party negotiations with no preconditions.

That resolution, with a growing number of co-sponsors in Congress, calls on the President to "appeal to all sides in the current crisis in the Middle East for an immediate cessation of violence and to commit United States diplomats to multi-party negotiations with no preconditions." Furthermore, the Resolution would have the President "send a high-level diplomatic mission to the region to facilitate such multi-party negotiations," and "urges such multi-party negotiations to begin as soon as possible, including delegations from the governments of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt." Finally, the Resolution "supports an international peacekeeping mission to southern Lebanon to prevent cross-border skirmishes during such multi-party negotiations."

"Violence is not the answer," Hay Bright said. "Bombing civilian populations in response to a limited, cross-border attack by one faction of a complex society is not the answer. All democracies of the world should be calling for an immediate cease-fire. The mass bombings of non-military targets over several days, and the killing of several hundred innocent civilians, makes no sense. Logically, it is counter-productive to punish a group for the offenses of a few, particularly when the group has no control over the conduct of those few. Who will the unjustly punished end up hating?

"While any country has the right to defend itself, what Israel is doing to Lebanon on its northern border, and what it had done recently to the Palestinians on its southern border, is outside the parameters of civilized societies and must not be tolerated."