1. Israel Is Illegally Occupying Palestine
Under UN Resolution 242, Israel is required by international law to withdraw from all the territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem. The United Nation’s General Assembly has repeatedly condemned Israel’s occupation of the territories as illegal (see UN resolutions 338, 1397, and 1402, among others). Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine, sanctioned and maintained by the US, is one of the most serious obstructions to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
2. Israel Systematically Violates the Human Rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories
Each day, Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Gaza violate articles of the 4th Geneva Convention on Human Rights, an agreement that governs wartime rules of engagement and to which Israel is a signatory. Palestinian homes and agriculture fields are routinely demolished to make way for illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli soldiers regularly arrest and detain–often for years– Palestinians without due process. According to Amnesty International, Israel is the only country in the world that legalizes torture.
3. Israel is an Apartheid State
Israel has developed an elaborate system of racial discrimination, embedded in its legal system, rivaling Apartheid South Africa’s laws. These laws include the Law of Entry, the Law of Return, the Citizenship Law, the Military Service Law, and a host of legally sanctioned, discriminatory rabbinical rulings. Palestinians are denied various welfare benefits, access to many jobs, and the leasing of homes and land controlled by government bodies. Electricity, sewerage, and roads are provided free to Israeli households, whereas many Palestinian communities in Israel, and especially in the Occupied Territories, have existed for decades without adequate services. Laws governing land ownership such as the Law of Acquisition of Absentee Property and the Law for Acquisition of Land blatantly discriminate against Palestinians. Indeed, land ownership in Palestine is more unjust than it ever was in South Africa; at the height of apartheid, black people nominally `controlled’ 13 percent of the land, whereas in Israel the Palestinians control only 2 percent of the land. 2 percent of the land.
Blockades which allow settlers free movement but restrict Palestinians have lost 100,000 workers their jobs. The Israeli government issues identification cards and car number-plates, color coded, which restrict travel for non-Jews. Palestinians in the West Bank are routinely prevented from travelling to the Gaza Strip because they have to travel through `Israeli’ territory. No significant industry has been permitted to develop in the West Bank or Gaza. Consequently, Palestinians are concentrated in the lowest paying jobs and form a super-exploited labour force for Israeli capital. The occupied territories import 93% of goods but export a mere 7% of what they produce. Palestinian exports to Western Europe are banned so as not to compete with Israeli exports. Ninety percent of Palestinian workers must travel to Jewish towns for employment.
4. US Military Aid to Israel Violates US Law
The US Arms Export Control Act (AECA) strictly forbids the government from giving military assistance to any country that violates internationally recognized human rights. The State Department’s 2001 human rights report states: “Israeli security units often used excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators including live fire … impeded the provision of medical assistance to Palestinian civilians by their strict enforcement of internal closures, which reportedly contributed to at least 32 deaths. Israeli security forces harassed and abused Palestinian pedestrians and drivers who were attempting to pass through the more than 130 Israeli- controlled checkpoints …” Under the AECA, “the President is required to report to Congress promptly upon the receipt of information that a substantial violation of AECA may have occurred.” The US government is fully aware of the Israeli army’s human rights violations, as the above quote from the State Department shows. The US government has eroded its own credibility as an impartial mediator by continuing to arm Israel without restriction and allowing these weapons to be used against civilian populations in violation of US law.
5. US Military Aid to Israel threatens US Security and Global Stability
US funding of Israel’s human rights abuses fuels resentment towards the US. While the rest of the world strongly condemns Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, our government provides the political, diplomatic and material means for the occupation to continue. Such actions by the US government provoke anti-US sentiment throughout the world, ultimately jeopardizing the safety of people living in the US. The US can build its own security only by gaining the trust and respect of the international community.
To: President George W. Bush and the United States Congress
We, the undersigned, are appalled by the human rights abuses against Palestinians by the Israeli government, the continued military occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory by Israeli armed forces and settlers, the forcible eviction of the inhabitants from, and the demolition of, Palestinians homes, towns, and cities. We find the recent attacks on Israeli civilians unacceptable and abhorrent. But these should not and do not negate the human rights of the Palestinians.
We find it reprehensible that US tax dollars, in the form of US military aid to Israel, are being used to fund Israel’s oppressive policy towards the Palestinians. This aid not only sustains Israel’s illegal occupation and provides the means for Israel to continue violating the human rights of Palestinians, but also violates the US Arms Export Control Act, which prohibits the President from furnishing military aid or selling weapons to any country that consistently violates internationally recognized human rights standards. We demand the immediate cessation of all US military aid to Israel until Israel honors United Nations authority and abides by the rules of international law. In particular, we demand that:
1. Israel comply with United Nations Resolution 242, which notes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, and which calls for withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the Occupied Territories.
2. Israel comply with the United Nations Committee Against Torture 2001 Report, which recommends that Israel’s use of torture be ended.
3. Israel cease the building of new settlements, and vacate existing settlements, in the Occupied Territories, in compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention. (“The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies”; Article 49, paragraph 6.)
4. Israel acknowledge in principle the applicability of United Nations Resolution 194 with respect to the rights of refugees, and work towards a just and practical solution.
We furthermore demand that the United States cease all military aid to any nation that has been shown to violate human rights, including Turkey, Columbia, or any other. This petition focuses on Israel because it is the largest recipient of US military aid in the world.
The stop US military aid to israel website is a cooperative effort between Sami Abuhamdeh (US citizen of Palestinian descent) and Benjamin Balak (Israeli citizen and professor of economics in the US).
The Stop US Military Aid to Israel petition has been endorsed by the following groups: Gush Shalom — International Solidarity Movement — Jews Against the Occupation — Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign — Golshan Society — News from Babylon — Not in My Name — Nilemedia — Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights — Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel — Citizens for Fair Legislation — Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace — All About Palestine — Matzpun ]