Thursday, June 25, 2009

From Jewish Voice for Peace:

Just days after President Obama called for a complete freeze on settlement construction, the Israeli government authorized construction on 300 new homes to be built in an "illegal outpost" in the West Bank. An illegal outpost: that's a settlement that's illegal even according to Israeli law. 60 totally illegal houses, and roads to get to them, have already been built in this outpost. Instead of demolishing it - which is what they should do - the Israeli government is performing a whitewash that will make this whole outpost a "legitimate" settlement.

Yesterday's announcement is a slap in the face to President Obama. As Mitchell Plitnick put it, "Ehud Gives Barack the Finger."

"If Israel is drunk on settlements, the United States has long been its enabler." So wrote Tony Judt in the New York Times. We call on President Obama to stand by his words and not give in to Israel's expansionism. It is the military aid that the U.S. gives Israel every year - some $3 billion - that allows Israel to keep building settlements and roads and to pay for the ever-increasing military power it takes to oppress the Palestinian population.

We want the billions of dollars the U.S. sends to Israel each year to come with Strings Attached. The United States must withhold that aid until Israel agrees to abide by U.S. and international law - and that includes stopping settlement construction. When Israel continues to blatantly flout the law using American money, and does so with total impunity, America's moral standing in the world and democratic principles are severely compromised. And all this at the cost of Palestinian lives and livelihood and Palestinian and Israeli futures. Enabling such disregard for internationally accepted standards only further fuels the conflict and world hostilities.

We were heartened when President Obama announced that Israel must completely halt settlement construction, and we were glad when Jewish leaders - including the largest association of American rabbis, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, stepped out in support of a complete settlement freeze. Now it's time for action.

Please send an email to President Barack Obama asking him to withhold U.S. aid to Israel until Israel stops all settlement construction and agrees to abide by U.S. and international law and end the occupation of Palestinian Territories. Call on him to back up his words with concrete and meaningful action.

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