FREEDOM ON THE LINE USA Needs to Be on the Right Side of History
It is urgent and time sensitive because the Palestinians plan to submit their U.N. application for a Palestinian State next month, July, to the U.N. General Assembly for a vote on such recognition this September.
Hence, it is our opportunity as human beings, Americans and international citizens, to overcome the political power of one nation, Israel, upon the United States government forcing it to oppose such a U.N. recognition against a supportive world.
All of us as organizations, activists, solidarity movements, human rights organizations, student movements, religious leaders and organizations, and all who are committed to world peace, equality, human rights, and the freedom and dignity for all of humanity must support this petition.
Western powers supported the creation of Israel by force in Palestine dispossessing millions of its native inhabitants, the Palestinians, who for decade’s became the world’s largest and longest suffering refugees.
Thus, today, those same western powers, especially the United States, must rectify this human tragedy by recognizing the humanity of the Palestinians and their right to a recognized State.
Palestinians have no powerful lobbies, media outlets, or wealth to oppose Israel’s decade’s long rejection of their very existence and right to freedom from occupation.
We will be that lobby. We will be their voice.
Please read the letter below and…
The Honorable President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Barack Obama;
We, the undersigned, strongly urge you to reverse your decision to oppose the Palestinian application to the U.N. General Assembly for recognition of a Palestinian State. Regardless of Israel’s rejection of such an action, it is in our own country’s national interest to do so.
According to Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Israel was given the right to statehood by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 passed on Nov. 29, 1949. That resolution called for TWO states, one Jewish and one Palestinian, with Jerusalem as an international city under U.N. control.
It is thus clear that under Resolution 181 Palestinians are entitled to a state of their own.
They also are entitled to their civil and human rights, and Americans should support their peaceful effort to govern themselves. Eleven million Palestinians are living as refugees within and out of their homeland, having endured two expulsions from their land, originally in 1948 and again in 1967.
Not only does their expulsion from their homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank continue today, but for four years 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza have been besieged by Israel, causing a humanitarian catastrophe as documented by the United Nations and human rights organizations.
Mr. President, as you are most aware, both the U.N. General Assembly and U.N. Security Council have passed a multitude of resolutions (except those vetoed by the U.S.) condemning Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 have called upon Israel to withdraw to pre-1967 borders, including from East Jerusalem.
On July 9, 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that:
“Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development [... and] have been established in breach of international law.”
With the possible exception of apartheid South Africa, no nation in modern history has been so condemned by United Nations resolutions, the International Court of Justice, all human rights organizations, and the majority of world governments as has Israel.
On many occasions only the U.S. stood with Israel as it violated International law and U.N. resolutions—even Security Council Resolutions we supported.
President Obama, you have declared that a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the “vital interest” of the United States.
According to a Zogby International Poll published on March 25, 2011, 81 percent of Americans share your view that Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestine puts U.S. interests in this region, so vital to our economy, at risk.
Mr. President, prominent American and Israeli figures including Nobel laureates, Knesset members, politicians, diplomats, academicians, and former defense department staff have expressed their strong support for U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. They placed ads including their letters to you and European Union leaders that ran in Israel, Europe, and the U.S.
In Tel Aviv this past April 5, some 5,000 people participated in a march that was organized under the title “Netanyahu said no —We say yes to a Palestinian state.”
Sir, your veto of a U.N. Security Council resolution recommending that the General Assembly recognize a Palestinian state will further solidify the Arab and Muslim view that our policy in the region is hypocritical and reeks of double standards given our total support of Israel against Palestinian rights, as reiterated in the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board Report of September 2004 submitted to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Is jeopardizing our national interests and standing in the entire Arab and Muslim world—indeed, throughout the world—worth our counterproductive support of one nation, Israel, whose interests often clash with American national interests?
The creation of an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 border is the best guarantor of Israel’s security and protector of our national interests in the region. A Palestinian state will pave the way to a final resolution of the century-old conflict and effectively reduce Muslim animosity to the United States.
Mr. President, this is your opportunity to build the strongest bridge with the Muslim world and establish a courageous principled precedent that America’s national interests supersede any foreign and domestic political considerations.
We, the undersigned, urge you to strongly support the U.N.’s recognition of a Palestinian state. As the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin proclaimed on the White House lawn in 1993: “Enough is Enough.”
* Mohamed Khodr is a political activist who frequently writes on the plight of Palestinians living under the brutal occupation of Israel, U.S. Foreign Policy, Islam, and Arab politics.