START DATE: Wednesday, January 5
END DATE: Monday, January 10
ACTION REQUESTED: Contact your Members of Congress, the State Department, and the White House and ask that the United States work to insure that the election for a new president of the Palestinian Authority is a first step toward Palestinian freedom from Israel’s illegal military occupation.
Contact information for your Members of Congress is at: http://www.congress.org/ or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or 800-839-5276.
Contact the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs at the State Department at firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: On January 9, Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem are scheduled to cast a ballot to elect a new president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to replace Yassir Arafat, the former democratically elected president of the PA, who died in November.
* The transition from one elected president of the Palestinian Authority to another is an important milestone in the development of Palestinian democratic institutions. The Palestinian people are to be congratulated for conducting a contested, democratic election under the difficult circumstances of a harsh foreign military occupation. The Israeli army beat one presidential candidate at a checkpoint and prevented others from freely moving throughout the occupied Palestinian territories to conduct their campaigns.
* The commitment of the Palestinian people to democracy must be honored by enabling them to exercise self-determination; however, Israel’s illegal 37 year-old military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, which is supported militarily, economically, and diplomatically by the United States, prevents the Palestinian people from living in freedom.
* Democracy without freedom and independence is a futile exercise. The United States must work to insure that whoever wins the Palestinian election, Israel must meet its international legal obligation to end its military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem and the illegal policies—i.e. land expropriations, the building of walls and settlements, collective punishment, extra-judicial assassinations, targeting of civilians—associated with it.
* President Bush has stated that one of the goals of his administration is to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East. In a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy he asked: “Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it. I believe every person has the ability and the right to be free.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031106-2.html) Now is the time for the president to act on his conviction by promoting freedom for the Palestinian people by ending US support for Israel’s military occupation.
ABOUT “WASHINGTON WEDNESDAY” AND THE US CAMPAIGN:
“Washington Wednesday” is a regularly scheduled, proactive, action alert of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and its member organizations that takes place the first Wednesday of each month. To sign up to receive future action alerts, please visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/email.php
The US Campaign is a diverse national coalition of more than 180 member organizations working to challenge 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 peace, justice, human rights and international law. To view a list of member organizations, please visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/groups.php
Through its network of Congressional District Coordinators, the US Campaign coordinates efforts to mobilize constituents to educate their elected representatives about US policy toward Israel and Palestine in more than 155 Congressional districts in 37 states.
Help keep the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation strong and dynamic by making a contribution today. To make a secure donation via Pay Pal, please visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=84
or send a check to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Suite 204, Washington, DC 20003.