START DATE: May 4, 2005
END DATE: To be determined
BACKGROUND: On April 19, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 14 (S.J.Res.14), which calls for the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital as official policy; to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before recognizing a Palestinian state; and to not recognize a Palestinian state until the international community declares Jerusalem to be Israel’s undivided capital.
* Since 1967, Israel has held East Jerusalem in belligerent military occupation in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 242. US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital would violate this UN resolution and international law, which prohibit the acquisition of territory through the use of force.
* This is a chauvinistic resolution that only recognizes Israeli and Jewish claims to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city of historical, religious, political, and cultural significance for Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, and Christians. The Senate has no business deciding which religion or nationality has an exclusive claim to Jerusalem.
* The resolution claims that only citizens of Israel should have the right to worship freely in Jerusalem and that Israel supports freedom of worship for all faiths. All people, including Palestinian Muslims and Christians, are guaranteed the right to worship freely (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18). The resolution fails to mention that Israel often bars Palestinian Muslims and Christians from accessing their holy places in Jerusalem.
* Jerusalem is one of the “permanent status” issues that are supposed to be resolved by Palestinian and Israeli negotiators. Jerusalem has been envisioned as a shared capital for Israelis and Palestinians in previous negotiating rounds. It is inappropriate for the Senate to undercut the desire of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to have Jerusalem as their shared capital.
* Senseless resolutions like S.J.Res.14 serve only to conceal the grave damage being done to Palestinians in Jerusalem by Israel’s construction of an illegal wall and the expansion of its illegal settlements there. Recently, Israel announced plans to add 3,500 housing units to the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The expansion of this illegal settlement will sever East Jerusalem from the West Bank and prevent the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. In defiance of the International Court of Justice, Israel is continuing to build an illegal wall around and through Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, turning them into disconnected and unsustainable ghettoes.
ABOUT “WASHINGTON WEDNESDAY”: The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, its member organizations, and its Congressional District Coordinators issue an action alert the first Wednesday of each month on a topic related to US policy toward Israel and Palestine.
The US Campaign’s Congressional District Coordinator (CDC) network currently encompasses approximately 200 activists in 40 states and 175 Congressional districts. If you are interested in organizing and mobilizing people in your Congressional district to educate your Members of Congress about the need to end US support for Israel’s occupation, please join the CDC network by filling out the on-line form at: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/modinput4.php?modin=82
The US Campaign is a coalition of 200 member organizations that work together to end US support for Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, and change US policy toward Israel and Palestine to support a just peace based on human rights and international law.
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