End U.S. Support for Israelís Illegal Military Occupation
To: Members of Congress, State Department
June 2004 marks the 37th anniversary of Israelís military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. This military occupation--currently the second-longest running occupation in the world behind ChinaĎs occupation of Tibet--denies the Palestinian people the right to self-determination and prevents the establishment of a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians whereby both peoples can live in freedom, dignity, and security.
The United States must end its military, economic, and diplomatic support for Israelís military occupation of these Palestinian lands in order to end a conflict which is causing so much suffering for both peoples. Despite the fact that Israel has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians since the outbreak of the current Palestinian uprising thereby violating the terms of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act which prohibit providing arms to serious human rights violators, the United States continues to supply the Israeli army with weapons in contravention of our own laws. Congress and the Executive Branch must hold Israel accountable to these laws and insure that U.S. weapons are not used to commit human rights violations.
Economic support funds go directly into Israelís general budget and help Israel pay for the building of new, illegal settlements on expropriated Palestinian land and for the expansion of existing, illegal settlements. In addition, this economic aid provides Israel with the resources it needs to construct its illegal wall/fence barrier deep within the West Bank which will de facto annex as much as 45% of it to Israel. This barrier is isolating Palestinian communities from each other, separating Palestinians from their agricultural and water resources, and creating a humanitarian catastrophe by denying Palestinians internationally guaranteed rights to travel, health care, education, and livelihood. Our tax dollars should not be used to fund the denial of human rights to others.
U.S. diplomatic support for these policies puts us at odds with the entire international community which stands united in demanding an end to Israelís military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Rather than defy the international consensus, our foreign policy toward Israel/Palestine should be to work with the international community to implement relevant United Nations resolutions designed to end this conflict.