"To make a peace where Israel and Palestine share Jerusalem will require the world community to confront these policies, specifically the settlements which seem to have become "facts on the ground" to divide and fragment an Arab East Jerusalem. The Obama administration has taken a strong stand against settlements, including those in East Jerusalem. Despite the US call to enforce a settlement freeze, the Netanyahu regime in Israel has thumbed its nose at Obama's challenge. They have declared several new settlement projects in East Jerusalem, most recently 20 units in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Increasingly, pro-Israeli media have become more shrill on the issue. Just last Monday a settler group held a protest at the Israeli Knesset and settler youth have taken the offensive creating some twenty new illegal outposts. Obama is right on this issue and it is critical that we support him and not buckle to pressure from the pro-Israeli right."Help the U.S. stop Israeli settlements by signing up as a local organizer. Join the struggle against U.S. support of Israeli violations of international law today! (A photo of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem taken by a member of the delegation. Click here for more photos).
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Although the delegation to Israel/Palestine cosponsored by Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has returned home, we continue to post reflections and reports written by delegates in order to share their important experiences. You can click here to read the delegations report on their visits to Jerusalem. Here's US Campaign Steering Committee member David Matos on settlements in East Jerusalem and the Obama Administration:
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday criticized Israel for the eviction two Palestinian families from an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem, calling the move "deeply regrettable". "The eviction of families and demolition of homes in east Jerusalem is not in keeping with Israeli obligations and I urge the government of Israel and municipal officials to refrain from such provocative actions," Clinton said."These evictions are not "regrettable," as if they were an accident. They are illegal--violations of international law and of the basic human rights of the Palestinian families who are now living on the street. The evictions themselves, and the Israeli military's violent response to the families' efforts to return to their homes, are funded by U.S. taxpayers. They are part of a clear policy of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from East Jerusalem--not spontaneous actions that should be "refrained from," but components of a policy that must be stopped. CNN's report on the evictions displays the treatment that members of the al-Ghawi and Hanoun families are facing at the hands of the Israeli political-military establishment, and notes that the families are looking for "more than words from the international community": The families deserve more than words. They deserve action on behalf of justice. Click here to learn more about the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem and the ethnic cleansing being faced by Palestinians there. Click here to take action to end U.S. military aid to Israel that funds occupation, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid.
Monday, August 3, 2009
A U.S. State Department spokesperson has condemned the eviction of Palestinian families from their East Jerusalem houses as part of the Israeli government's policy of supporting Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. The two families--the Hanouns and the al-Ghawis--have lived in their East Jerusalem houses since 1956, when they were given houses as part of their refugee status after fleeing West Jerusalem during the 1948 war. East Jerusalem was occupied by Israel in 1967. In all, 53 people have been made homeless by the evictions, and Israeli settlers--guarded by Israeli police and military--have already moved into their homes. Here's an Al Jazeera report on the evictions: U.S. State Department spokesperson Megan Mattson has condemned the evictions, stating that they violate Israel's obligations under the U.S.-brokered "Road Map":
"Unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community."The evictions, and the settlement plan that they are a part of, threaten Palestinian hopes for maintaing East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and decrease the likelihood for a negotiated settlement on Jerusalem as part of a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. Despite State Department condemnation, however, these evictions would not be possible without the support of billions of dollars of U.S. military aid, which enables these violations of human rights. The young soldiers who carried out the evictions and who now stand guard over the houses to prevent the Palestinian families from returning are armed with help from U.S. tax dollars--$2.775 billion for FY2010 and a project total of $30 billion between 2007-2017, to be exact. The guns they point, the bullets they fire, the communications equipment that coordinates their activities, the bulldozers they use to destroy houses and even tents--are all provided by the U.S. government and U.S. companies. In addition to official U.S. support for the Israeli occupation, private American donors and companies also play a role. (The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a member group of the US Campaign, has filed a complaint with the Department of Treasury in regards to tax-exempt donations being used to fund settlements.) Here's Israeli-American activist Joseph Dana reporting on the contributions of U.S. citizens to the colonization of East Jerusalem:
"This is just one of several plans by various real estate groups such as Nahalat Shimon International and American businessmen such as Irving Moskowitz, to populate the areas surrounding the Old City with Jewish strongholds that sever Palestinian territorial contiguity in East Jerusalem. This prejudices any final resolution in which East Jerusalem would be the Palestinian capital. It is also in clear breach of Israel’s commitment under the Road Map. But these operations are backed by the Israel Lands Administration, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Israeli government, who are all working together to undermine any possibility for a two-state solution and are blatantly infringing on the basic human rights of the citizens of what they deem to be the “united Jerusalem.”"Dana has also posted the following video of the aftermath of the evictions on his blog: The condemnation of the State Department rings hollow in the face of massive U.S. military aid and the involvement of American citizens in the spread of Israeli settlements. If we want to stop evictions, settlement growth, and other violations of international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people, we need to act to change U.S. policy. You can act to change U.S. policy by organizing in your local community against U.S. military aid, meeting with your elected representatives, and taking steps to challenge U.S. companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. Let's make sure that those U.S. policies that have left the Hanouns, the Rawis and the al-Ghawis homeless are soon a thing of the past.