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We Know Something the State Department Doesnít Know

August 27th, 2009

As the Obama Administration presses forward on its so far fruitless efforts to get Israel to freeze its illegal settlement building in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem and end its criminal siege of the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip, it seems at a loss on how to proceed or how to exert any effective pressure on Israel to achieve these goals.

Take, for example, this exchange last week between a reporter and State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly on the issue of Israelís discriminatory treatment of U.S. citizens of Palestinian heritage:

QUESTION: A follow-up on the PA-only stamp issued by Israel to U.S. citizens going into Israel, just to follow up on that. I saw that you guys released --


-- something. You said that youíre engaged with the Government of Israel. Just more clarification. Have you complained to them about this specifically? Have you asked them to stop issuing it to your U.S. citizens, and do you consider it a violation of the Oslo Accords?

Oh, well, the latter Ė the latter issue thatís, I think, something that I probably would want somebody else to pronounce on if itís a violation of the Oslo because Iím not familiar enough with the Oslo Accords to be able to make a judgment one way or the other.

As our note said last night, we have made it quite known to the Israeli Government, and this is, I think, really on the diplomatic level, that we expect all American citizens to be treated the same regardless of their national origin. And this kind of Ė these kinds of restrictions we consider unacceptable. And Iíd refer you to the Israeli Government for Ė in terms of their --

So you donít know if theyíre going to stop doing it or not, or if you specifically asked them to stop issuing these specific stamps?

MR. KELLY: We have told them that we think this is Ė that we cannot accept this kind of practice.

QUESTION: Do you know at what level Ė do you know if Ė how many Americans have complained to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem? How --


QUESTION: -- serious you consider this?

MR. KELLY: No. Iím not aware of the kind of numbers of Ė the number of people who have complained. Libby.

QUESTION: Different topic.

QUESTION: Wait, wait. Can I Ė can we go back? First of all, what does that mean we cannot accept this kind of practice? You also canít accept, you know, continued building of settlements, and they seem to be doing that.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: So what exactly does that mean?

MR. KELLY: Well, it means that this kind of practice is something that the U.S. Government believes should not be done. This is not --

QUESTION: Yeah, but you say we canít --

MR. KELLY: -- something that we can accept.

QUESTION: But itís not Ė you have to accept it, if thatís what theyíre doing.

MR. KELLY: Well --

QUESTION: What are you going to do if they donít stop?

MR. KELLY: We will continue to protest.

QUESTION: But that wonít make any difference --

QUESTION: That Ė I mean, itís not a question of whether you can accept it or not. Theyíre doing it.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.


MR. KELLY: It is what it is. We donít like the practice.

May we be so bold as to offer you some advice, Mr. Kelly? If the United States doesnít like Israelís practices, then we should exert pressure on Israel to change its behavior. And the quickest and most effective way to do so is by ending U.S. military aid, which is misused by Israel in violation of U.S. law to kill and injure Palestinian civilians and sustain Israelís illegal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Unfortunately what seems so obvious to us hasnít yet registered with the Obama Administration, which is why we need to organize to educate and build political support to put this policy option on the radar screen of our elected representatives.

Join nearly 1,300 people from 49 states (címon North Dakota, we know youíre out there!) who have received an organizing packet from us filled with fact sheets, petitions, postcards, and stickersóeverything you need to go out and organize in your community to build support for ending U.S. military aid to Israel. Sign up today to receive your organizing packet by clicking here.

We canít do this important organizing work without resources. Each organizing packet costs us about $10 in printing and shipping costs. If you value the crucial organizing work weíre doing to challenge U.S. military aid to Israel, then please make a generous tax-deductible contribution to us today by clicking here.

Above: Google Earth map of our organizers working to challenge U.S. military aid to Israel.