Monday, February 7, 2011

Take Action: Tell U.S. to Support UN Resolution on Settlements

On Jan. 27, an Israeli settler shot dead Odai Qadous, an 18-year-old shepherd tending his flock of sheep near his West Bank village of Iraq Bourin.  The very next day, more than 100 Israeli settlers stormed the West Bank village of Safa; during the melee that ensued, a settler killed 15-year-old Yousef Ekhlil with a gunshot to his head.

Illustration: Israelis at UN headquartersAs the UN Security Council prepares to debate a resolution on Israel's settlements, the tragic deaths of Odai and Yousef serve as a stark reminder that not only are Israel's 150 settlements in the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal. Not only do they prevent Palestinian statehood, freedom and self-determination...

...Odai and Yousef's killings also remind us that the half million Israeli settlers, protected by the U.S.-equipped Israeli army, are responsible for some of the most egregious human rights abuses suffered by Palestinians day-in and day-out.

The draft Security Council resolution reaffirms that Israel's settlements "are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace."

We're sure that you agree and want to see the Obama Administration support this resolution.

Please add your name right now to our petition to the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, asking her to vote in favor of this resolution.

One would expect the Obama Administration to support this resolution as the President himself "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," as stated in his June 2009 Cairo address.

But instead, the Obama Administration is threatening to use its veto in the Security Council once again to protect Israel from abiding by international law.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that "New York is not the place to resolve the longstanding conflict and outstanding issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians."

We disagree.

As we argued recently in the LA Times (Good Riddance, 'Peace Process'), the United States is not capable of being an honest broker.  A forum such as the UN, anchored in human rights and international law, is exactly the right place to achieve a just and lasting peace.

Let the Obama Administration know that you want our country to support the upcoming UN vote condemning Israel's illegal settlements.

If more than 10,000 people sign our petition before the vote, we will hand-deliver it to the U.S. Mission to the UN. Add your voice and help us spread the word now!

As the Obama Administration appears to be supporting human rights in Tunisia and Egypt, and their citizens' demands for freedom, the United States will lose credibility if it vetoes a UN resolution that supports those same rights for Palestinians. 

The State Department told us on Human Rights Day last December that "there is a single universal standard that applies to every country, including our own. We apply it to the Israelis, and we also view…Palestinians as being human beings under the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights] and entitled to those rights."

Sign our petition today and press the United States to live up its word.