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Support Legislation to Challenge Israeli Settlements

It's Time to Do More than Just Issue Statements About Settlements

Dear Friend,

Last week Muhammad Murad Yahiya was killed while he and some friends were walking on his family's land after a wedding. After shooting him in the abdomen, Israeli soldiers tied Muhammad's feet together and left him bleeding on the ground for several hours. When the Israeli military finally allowed Muhammad to be taken to the hospital, it was too late. Muhammad was pronounced dead early Tuesday morning.

According to testimony compiled by Breaking the Silence regarding  Israel's attacks on Gaza last summer, some Israeli soldiers shot at Palestinian civilians because they were bored or wanted to make sure their gun sights were accurate. One solider remarked, "I shot at random civilian targets sometimes, just for fun…"

The wanton disregard for Palestinian lives is simply horrifying. Under these circumstances, it’s no surprise that 2014 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 1967.

A recent report by Amnesty International titled “Trigger-Happy: Israel’s Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank,” shows how much of this violence is connected to Israel’s expropriation and colonization of Palestinian land. Considering the makeup of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly-formed coalition government, it appears likely that Israel's illegal settlement enterprise will continue to rapidly expand in the coming years.

I hope you’ll agree that enough is enough. It's time for our lawmakers to do something to challenge Israel’s wholesale denial of human rights, including its burgeoning settlement enterprise. That's why we're asking Members of Congress to introduce legislation entitled "Israeli Settlements are Illegal Act of 2015."

This proposed legislation calls on President Obama to do more than simply issue statements.

As the legislation notes, every presidential administration since 1967 has reaffirmed the United States' opposition to Israel's settlements. Unfortunately, few have taken the sort of tangible and sustained steps necessary to uphold that policy.

Whether it's investigating charities that fund illegal Israeli settlements or taking more action to curb terrorist attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians, it's incumbent upon our lawmakers to take action.

Today, we need you to call and email your Members of Congress and urge them to support “Israeli Settlements Are Illegal Act of 2015.”

If you’re a constituent in one of the priority districts below, it’s especially critical that you contact your lawmakers today (click here for talking points).

Representative John Lewis -- 1-202-225-3801
Representative Gwen Moore -- 1-202-225-45721
Representative Earl Blumenauer -- 1-202-225-4811
Representative Jan Shakowsky -- 202-225-2111
Representative Darrell Issa -- 1-202-225-3906 
Representative Raul Grijalva -- 1-202-225-2435
Representative Ben Ray Lujan -- 1-202-225-6190
Representative Andre Carson -- 1-202-225-4011

Because of constituents like you, a diverse coalition of groups successfully challenged efforts by AIPAC to codify Israel's discriminatory policies into U.S. law. Now, we need your help to proactively challenge Israel’s wholesale denial of Palestinian rights.

I hope you'll contact your Members of Congress today and be a part of introducing this historic legislation.

Sincerely,


Mike Coogan                                        
Legislative Coordinator

P.S. Our sincere thanks to everyone who called Senate offices urging them to challenge the recently proposed anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) amendments. From the reports we received, many of the offices received non-stop phone calls in opposition to the amendment. Unfortunately, the anti-BDS amendments ultimately passed at the committee level and were included in different trade bills in the House and Senate. Right now we’re gathering more information about the implications of these amendments as they continue to move through the legislative process. We'll keep you posted on next steps in the coming weeks. 

It is important to remember that as outrageous as these amendments are, these efforts by AIPAC and others only highlight the power of BDS. Supporters of Israel's occupation and systemic discrimination against Palestinians are on the defensive. The opposition is now consumed with reacting to a string of BDS victories and the ever-growing power of the movement that supports freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians. As Gandhi once said, “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Take these actions:

1. Urge your Members of Congress to introduce or co-sponsor the Israeli Settlements Are Illegal Act of 2015.

2. Check out our resources related to this campaign and familiarize yourself with the text of the proposed legislation.

3. If you know of any organizations that would be interested in joining the campaign to introduce this legislation, please ask them to endorse the legislation by clicking here.