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Israeli Unilateral Disengagement from Gaza Must Comply with International Law

March 3rd, 2004


US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
‘Washington Wednesday’ Action Alert
Israeli Unilateral Disengagement from Gaza Must Comply with International Law
ACTION REQUESTED:
Fax, call, and/or email your Members of Congress, the White House, and the State Department and demand that any unilateral Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip comply with international law.
START DATE: ‘Washington Wednesday’, March 3, 2004
END DATE: To be determined
CONTACT INFORMATION:
Phone and fax numbers for your Members of Congress can be found at the US Campaign’s Congressional Report Card: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=59.  Unless indicated otherwise, all numbers begin with (202)22.
To send an email to your Members of Congress, visit: 
http://www.cflweb.org/congress_merge_.htm

White House: phone 202-456-1111, fax 202-456-2461, 
president@whitehouse.gov

State Department: phone 202-647-6575, http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_secretary.htm

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
On Monday, February 2, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon outlined to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz his plans for a unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip and the dismantling of three settlements in the West Bank. Sharon stated: “So as part of the disengagement plan I ordered an evacuation - sorry, a relocation - of 17 settlements with their 7,500 residents, from the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory…The aim is to move settlements from places where they cause us problems or places where we won't remain in a permanent arrangement." (Ha’aretz, February 3, “Sharon’s plan: 20 settlements to go within a year or two.”)

U.S. officials arrived in Israel on February 18 to discuss the details of Sharon’s disengagement plan.  Sharon is expected to visit President Bush in late March to seek approval for his plan. 
TALKING POINTS:
·        Sharon’s unilateral disengagement plan calls for the evacuation of only 17 of 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip.  Settlements are illegal under international law.  Article 49 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War states that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”  U.S. support for Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza must be conditioned on Israel’s dismantling of all 21 illegal settlements.
·        A Sharon spokesperson confirmed that Israel is considering the option of transferring Gaza Strip settlers to West Bank settlement blocs that it wants to annex.  Transferring settlers from one occupied territory to another is illegal under international law and cannot be countenanced by the United States.  Furthermore, the United States cannot support the annexation of West Bank land as a quid pro quo for Israel’s dismantling of settlements in Gaza.  The annexation of occupied territory is illegal under international law (Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Article 47).  UN Security Council Resolution 242, which is the basis for attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, also emphasizes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.”
·        While Sharon’s plan for unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip calls for the evacuation of most illegal settlements, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) plans to continue its military occupation of the Gaza Strip after the settlements are evacuated.  Military occupation, under international law, is viewed as a temporary expedient.  Israel’s 36 year-old military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has become permanent in nature.  Israel’s treatment of Palestinians living under military occupation violates numerous international laws designed to protect civilians living under foreign military occupation.
·        Any U.S. support for Sharon’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip should be seen as only a first step toward ending Israel’s illegal military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.  UN Security Council Resolution 242 calls for Israel to withdraw its “armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict [1967].”
·        Reports suggest that Israel will ask the United States for $2 billion to finance this unilateral disengagement plan. The United States should not be responsible for paying Israel to evacuate the illegal settlements that it has created in the Gaza Strip in defiance of U.S. policy and international law.  The United States already provides substantial foreign aid much of which Israel diverts to support its occupation of Palestinian territories. U.S. tax-payers should not have to shoulder any additional burden at a time of unprecedented budget deficits, and money that Israel spends on its occupation should be deducted from existing loan guarantees and annual foreign aid appropriations.
ABOUT THE US CAMPAIGN TO END THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION :
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a diverse coalition of more than 110 member organizations.  The US Campaign works to promote a U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine that supports peace, justice, human rights, and international law rather than military occupation.  For more information, see: 
http://www.endtheoccupation.org.
The US Campaign is changing U.S. policy by organizing sustained and coordinated pressure on Member of Congress through its Congressional District Coordinator Network.  To date, the US Campaign helps coordinate efforts in 32 states and 130 Congressional districts.  To get involved, contact us at 
congress@endtheoccupation.org.

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