Start Date: August 10, 2005
End Date: To be determined
BACKGROUND:Israel has completed the first stage of its unilateral “disengagement” from the Palestinian Gaza Strip by evacuating its illegal settlements there. Israeli officials announced in July that they will ask the United States to pay $2.2 billion for this “disengagement”. (Source)
Contact your Members of Congress and the Administration and tell them to oppose Israel’s aid request. Contact information for Members of Congress can be found by visiting the US Campaign’s Congressional Report Card.
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TAKE ACTION HERE.
* In defiance of international law, Israel has militarily occupied the Palestinian Gaza Strip and established illegal settlements there for more than 38 years. If the United States is serious about promoting the rule of law, it cannot reward Israel with money for the numerous human rights violations it has committed against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip over the past four decades.
* Although Israel is dismantling its illegal settlements and military bases in the Gaza Strip, it will still maintain a full-scale sea, air, and land siege of the territory. Gaza will remain an open-air prison under Israeli control, preventing Palestinians from exercising their right to freedom of movement and from engaging in economic activity. Under these conditions, Israel will still in effect be occupying the Gaza Strip, according to international law.
* Israel’s plan to “disengage” from the Gaza Strip does not meet even the minimum expectations articulated by the United States. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that “when the Israelis withdraw from Gaza it cannot be sealed or [an] isolated area, with the Palestinian people closed in after that withdrawal. We are committed to connectivity between Gaza and the West Bank, and we are committed to openness and freedom of movement for the Palestinian people.” (Source)
* Israel’s plan to “disengage” from the Palestinian Gaza Strip is not meant to advance the peace process, but to put it into “formaldehyde”, according to Dov Weisglass, senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who stated that“the significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process…Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda…All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”
* According to international law and agreements signed by Israel and the PLO, the Gaza Strip and West Bank (including East Jerusalem) is a single territorial unit, illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. The “disengagement” plan is a smokescreen to further isolate one Palestinian area from the other to create apartheid-like Bantustans. While Israel “disengages” from Gaza, it will continue construction of the illegal Wall in the West Bank, expand illegal settlements there, and confine the Palestinians to ever shrinking parcels of land. Examples of this can be seen already in the Israeli government’s decision to route the illegal Wall around the Ma’ale Adumim settlement and build a police station between it and Jerusalem, effectively cutting the West Bank in two. Israel also has announced plans to build a provocative settlement in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and proceed with its plans to wall off Jerusalem from the West Bank. This “Bantustanization” of Palestinian land effectively denies the Palestinian people true self-determination and the right to return to their homeland.
* Israel is asking for US aid to relocate settlers from the Gaza Strip to areas in the Galilee and the Negev for “development” where Palestinian citizens of Israel constitute a majority and a large minority, respectively. This threatens to dislocate more of these remaining Palestinian citizens of Israel from their homes and lands. Already "development" has been used to remove hundreds of Bedouin families in the Negev and to destroy their crops.
* Many settlers have moved from illegal settlements in the Gaza Strip to illegal settlements in the West Bank, rather than to Israel. (Source) The United States cannot provide Israel with money to compensate Gaza settlers who move to expropriated Palestinian land in the West Bank.
* Unconditional US military, economic, and diplomatic support for Israel’s 38 year-old military occupation of the Palestinian Gaza Strip has resulted in the de-development of the Palestinian economy and the destruction of its infrastructure. Rather than rewarding Israel for maintaining the Gaza Strip as an open-air prison after the “disengagement”, the United States should provide money for the re-development of the Palestinian economy.
TAKE ACTION HERE.