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No Aid for Checkpoints

"Washington Wednesday" Action Alert, March 2, 2005
March 2nd, 2005

START DATE: March 2, 2005
END DATE: Until Congress acts on President Bush’s supplemental war appropriations request
BACKGROUND:  On February 14, President Bush formally submitted to Congress a request for $82 billion in supplemental appropriations for FY2005 primarily to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The request includes $200 million of assistance to the Palestinian people, which according to the State Department, will be designated for:
  • Financing home construction in Gaza
  • Expanding education opportunities
  • Developing the economic infrastructure for a Palestinian state
  • Helping to improve the Palestinian social safety net to provide social services to the poor
  • “Building bridges” to help improve the flow of people and goods between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza [1]
The US Campaign strongly supports US assistance to the Palestinian people to help offset some of the damage done to the Palestinian economy by Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, which the US government has enabled with our tax dollars.
However, the US Campaign is deeply concerned that the request for funds “to help improve the flow of people and goods” will actually solidify and entrench Israel’s system of illegal checkpoints in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including those associated with the illegal wall Israel is constructing in the West Bank.  The International Court of Justice ruled that no country can “render aid or assistance” to Israel to maintain this wall.  According to a White House official, as much as $50 million of assistance ostensibly designated for the Palestinians could be given to Israel to construct high-tech checkpoints and transit terminals. [2]
Israel’s system of checkpoints and other transportation barriers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal because it prevents Palestinians from exercising their right to freedom of movement in their own land, as enshrined in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Barring freedom of movement is also a form of collective punishment, which is outlawed by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  US assistance to Palestinians must not be earmarked to finance steps that deprive them of their human rights.
ACTION REQUESTED: Contact your Members of Congress to express your support for US assistance to Palestinian civilians and ask your Members of Congress to offer an amendment to the supplemental appropriation request to make sure that none of this assistance can be earmarked for projects by Israel to solidify and entrench its restrictions on the freedom of movement of the Palestinian people in their own land.
CONTACT INFORMATION:  Detailed contact information for your Members of Congress and their staffs can be found at the new and improved US Campaign 109th Congressional Report Card at: http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=89
TALKING POINTS:
* I strongly support US assistance to Palestinians civilians to offset some of the damage that has been done to the Palestinian economy as a result of Israel’s illegal military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, which the US government has enabled with our tax dollars.
* A White House official stated in the Washington Post on February 6 that up to $50 million of this proposed US assistance to the Palestinian people could be turned over to Israel to fund the construction of high-tech checkpoints and transit terminals in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
* Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines freedom of movement in one’s land as a fundamental human right.  Israel’s checkpoints and other transportation barriers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are violations of this right.  Barring freedom of movement is also a form of collective punishment, which is outlawed by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Congress must not ostensibly provide assistance to the Palestinian people that would deprive them of their human rights.
* Congress has already passed legislation designed to ensure that US assistance is not used by Israel to maintain and deepen its illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.  In legislation authorizing US loan guarantees to Israel, Congress mandated that they may be used "only to support activities in the geographic areas which were subject to the administration of the Government of Israel before June 5, 1967." (Public Law No. 108-11: Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003)
* To ensure that US assistance to the Palestinians is not misspent to maintain and deepen Israel’s military occupation, Congress should add language to the supplemental request that reads: “No amount of this assistance may be obligated to Israel to support activities, including the maintenance or construction of barriers, checkpoints, transit terminals, or other obstacles to the freedom of movement of the Palestinian people, in the geographic areas that Israel has occupied militarily since or after June 5, 1967.”
ABOUT “WASHINGTON WEDNESDAY”: The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and its member organizations issue an action alert, known as “Washington Wednesday”, the first Wednesday of each month. 
The US Campaign’s network of Congressional District Coordinators distributes these action alerts to constituents in their Congressional districts who use them to educate their Members of Congress about the need for the United States to end its support for Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.
If you would like to become a Congressional District Coordinator and help coordinate efforts to educate your Member of Congress, please fill out the brief on-line form at: http://endtheoccupation.org/modinput4.php?modin=82
SOURCES:
[1] “U.S. Assistance to the Palestinians”, Fact Sheet, U.S. Department of State, February 7, 2005.  Available at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2005/41870.htm
[2] Glenn Kessler, “U.S. Takes Low-Key Role in Mideast”, Washington Post, February 6, 2005.  Available at: http://www.seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2002172411_mideastpolicy06.html
DONATE: Donate today to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation at: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=149
JOIN THE US CAMPAIGN’S EMAIL LIST:http://www.endtheoccupation.org/email.php

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