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May 19, 2021

Emgage Action Calls on the White House to Press Israel to Halt Attacks on Palestinians and Policies that Undermine their Rights

Emgage Action is asking President Biden to press Israel to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza and to halt efforts to forcefully displace Palestinians from their homeland.

This state of affairs is not a case of “both sides”. Not when Palestinians are occupied and the State of Israel is the occupier. Since 1948, the fundamental rights of a whole people have been denied and often undermined. Their plight has been exacerbated by pernicious policies of the Netenyahu government and its allies. Understanding the current crisis and providing credible solutions must recognize these facts.

Since its occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, Israel has pursued a systematic campaign to displace and replace Arabs with Jewish settlers in violation of international law. This has been accompanied by well-documented discriminatory practices that forbid housing construction by Arabs, especially in Jerusalem, in addition to mass-scale home demolitions. According to Israeli law, Jews have the right to return to properties they or other Jewish entities held before the creation of Israel. The same rights are not afforded to Palestinians who were displaced from pre-1948 Israel or during the1967 War. Prime Minister Netenyahu has leveraged these policies to accelerate settlement activities and supported additional discriminatory measures, including the Nation State Law that guarantees the right to self-determination only to Jewish citizens of Israel.

We should not portray the issue only as a conflict between Hamas and Israel. This shifts focus away from the root causes of the conflict to its symptoms. Hamas was established in 1987, a full 20 years after the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Overlooking this fact and justifying Israel’s policies and actions as a legitimate right to “self defense” does the term a disservice.

We believe the below should guide U.S. policy on the matter:

  1. Support an immediate ceasefire that brings an end to hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Priority number one is to de-escalate and prevent further loss of life. 
  2. Clearly state U.S. opposition to Israeli policies of displacing Palestinians from East Jerusalem or the West Bank and replacing them with settlers.
  3. Publicly acknowledge the rights of Palestinians to also be secure and free. 
  4. Ensure that U.S. assistance is not used by the Israeli government to further its occupation of Palestinian lands. 
  5. Review Israeli military operations in Gaza and elsewhere to ensure Leahy Law compliance and that no human rights violations are committed with U.S. funding. 
  6. Initiate a credible effort to address the root causes of this conflict aimed at ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians.

We urge President Biden to seriously consider these recommendations to bring our policy on this issue in line with your broader foreign policy agenda.