August “Washington Wednesday” Action Alert
Start Date: August 10, 2005
End Date: To be determined
Israel is scheduled to begin in mid-August a unilateral “disengagement” from the Palestinian Gaza Strip by evacuating its illegal settlements and military bases there. Israeli officials announced in July that they will ask the United States to pay $2.2 billion for this disengagement.
1) 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 at www.congress.org. To make your communication as effective as possible, please make sure to personalize it and use your own words.
2) Get your organization to endorse a letter to Members of Congress and the Administration opposing Israel’s aid request. Send the letter to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and it will deliver this letter to Capitol Hill and the State Department after the August Congressional recess.
* 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 plans to dismantle 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 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.” (http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2005/49973.htm). Since the Gaza Strip will be both sealed and isolated after the “disengagement,” the United States would be funding a policy with which it disagrees.
* 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 adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who last year stated that “the significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. Effectively, thi! s 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.” The “disengagement” plan is a smokescreen to draw attention away from Israel’s construction of the illegal Wall in the Palestinian West Bank and its consolidation of control there.
* 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.
ABOUT “WASHINGTON WEDNESDAY”
The “Washington Wednesday” is a joint effort of a coalition of Washington-based organizations that coordinate efforts the first Wednesday of each month to bring attention to resolutions affecting the situation in the Middle East currently being considered by Congress and to educate congressional representatives about the situation. Coalition members include: American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Council for the National Interest; Partners for Peace; US Campaign to End the Occupation (including over 200 associated organizations).