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Home  » Action Alerts   »  Washington State Petition Against ...

Washington State Petition Against Senate Resolution 408

Dear Senator Murray,

As long time supporters of your fine work as our Senator, we were very surprised and deeply disappointed to learn that you co-sponsored Senate Resolution 408 condemning the International Court of Justice ruling on the illegality of Israel's separation barrier.  We strongly believe that Resolution 408 is an unbalanced, factually inaccurate and politically counterproductive resolution.

You have shown leadership and courage on many important issues. We are very grateful for strong work on behalf of our environment, your support for public education and your opposition to the amendment authorizing the invasion of Iraq.  Your stand on these issues represent a concern for social justice and for an effective foreign policy in the best tradition of the Democratic Party and truly represents the beliefs of your constituency in Washington State.

However, in our view, your active support for Resolution 408 does little to serve the cause of social justice or the foreign policy interests of the United States at this difficult time.  We also believe it does not represent your constituency in Washington.

We are therefore very puzzled by your strong endorsement of this resolution as a co-sponsor and we seek an explanation for your position.

If you have chosen to support Resolution 408 on the basis of principle, we would like to understand your reasoning.  The International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Israel's barrier is clearly based on international human rights law as codified in the major human rights treaties and cases over the past half-century.  We believe that a foreign policy based on respect for international law is essential for creating a more just and secure world. Is it your position that Israel's security concerns take precedence over international human rights law, the central claim of Resolution 408?  Do you think that endorsing a selective approach to international law is a wise message for us to send to the world at this time?

If you have chosen to support Resolution 408 simply on the basis of your concern for Israeli security in response to the reprehensible and horrific Palestinian suicide bombings over the past few years, we would like to understand your reasoning as well.  First of all, it is very questionable that building a wall will truly solve Israel's security problems.  History has shown that walls and barriers never ultimately work.  Secondly, the proposed barrier is highly dysfunctional from a security perspective because over ninety percent of it is being built on confiscated Palestinian land inside the internationally accepted 1967 border between Israel and the West Bank.  The barrier loops and zigzags around Palestinian areas, leaving nearly 200,000 Palestinians on Israel's side, making it the antithesis of a clean and effective security partition. Moreover, its expansionist location will only fuel Palestinian desperation, creating an incentive for even more destructive forms of terrorism.  Why are you supporting a resolution that conforms more with the territorial expansionism of the right-wing Likud party in Israel rather than with advocates of compromise and peace inside Israel, who strongly oppose this barrier?

If you have chosen to support Resolution 408 on the basis that you believe you are representing your constituency in Washington State we would like to know more about how you see your constituency.  Many people we have spoken with have expressed surprise and dismay that a Senator from Washington State would feel compelled to align herself so strongly with such an unbalanced and counterproductive resolution.  Do you believe that you are truly representing your constituency on this issue?

Finally, Resolution 408 is replete with factual inaccuracies and misleading information.  To cite only a few examples:

1) Resolution 408 claims that construction of the barrier began in July, 2003.  In fact, Israel began building it in October, 2002 and completed its first phase by July, 2003.

2) Resolution 408 claims that only three suicide attacks on Israel have been carried out since July, 2003.  In fact, over ten suicide bombings have happened since that time.  This hardly supports the claim made in the resolution that the barrier has proven to be an effective security measure.

3) Resolution 408 claims Israeli security checkpoints that suffocate Palestinian civilian life deter terrorist actions.  In fact, Israel's own State Comptroller issued a report in July, 2002 stating that most Palestinian suicide bombers to that point had actually gone through Israeli military checkpoints.

There are other inaccuracies that could easily be documented.

We would like to join with you and mobilize the voters of Washington State to support your reelection campaign for another term as Senator.  We believe that you have and can continue to represent us in a way that does not sacrifice a concern for social justice, effective and international law-based foreign policy and factual accuracy.  But we urge you not to take our support for granted.  We would like some answers to our questions above before we can feel confident that you can truly represent all of our concerns in the Senate.