Letter from MIFTAH and Ensan to Bush: Israel’s Unilateralism Will Destroy Chances for Peace
By MIFTAH and Ensan Centre for Democracy & Human Rights
May 23, 2006
Note: The following letter is a joint initiative between Ensan Center for Democracy & Human Rights and the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). It has been signed and endorsed by several Palestinian, Israeli, and international public figures, and officially handed to the US Consul-General in Jerusalem today, Tuesday, 23 May 2006.
Dear Mr. President,
In our capacity as Palestinian public figures, political leaders, and representatives of Palestinian civil society, we are writing to you with grave concern regarding the upcoming visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the United States.
Our concerns stem from the fact that Israel’s short-sighted unilateralist policy in ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not only destructive to our common goal of achieving a durable and just peace in the region, but is also in direct contradiction to your own declared vision for a negotiated two-state solution, with a democratic, independent, and sovereign Palestinian state existing peacefully side by side with the state of Israel.
Following the Israeli general elections in March 2006, Israel’s dangerous intentions to bypass negotiations and international law have become more evident, hence threatening to add more volatility to an already explosive situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
We reaffirm our commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict on the basis of respect for all the relevant United Nations resolutions, including 242, 338, and 194 (concerning a just solution of the Palestinian refugees’ issue); the return to the 1967 boundaries and the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including Palestinian east Jerusalem, are the essential prerequisites for a lasting peace in the region.
In particular, we urge your administration to take concrete steps in preventing the Israeli government from unilaterally declaring Israel’s future borders along the lines of the Separation Wall, including the Jordan valley, which will illegally annex a total of approximately 46% of the West Bank to Israel (including the settlements), thereby leaving the Palestinians with territorially-fragmented and isolated Palestinian population centres in which to realise your vision for the future Palestinian state. Furthermore, Israel’s unilateral vision aims to create punitive borders by which new facts on the ground are imposed on the Palestinian side, namely illegal settlement structures, including the expanded boundaries of Ma’ale Adumim in east Jerusalem (the E1 Plan), the Separation Wall, and the various illegal bypass roads, all of which suffocate the economic and social wellbeing of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories.
A politically and economically viable Palestinian state cannot be established on fragmented territories in the West Bank (and the Gaza Strip); all of the Gaza Strip and all of the West Bank, including Palestinian east Jerusalem, are classified as occupied territory under international law; hence their contiguity forms the basis of our shared vision for the realization of the future Palestinian state.
We strongly believe that it is a key responsibility of the United States, as a major partner and broker in the Middle East peace process, to bring Israel to compliance with all signed agreements; it is only through an active US role that we can end the illegal occupation which began in 1967.
Palestinians Signed the Letter
Endorsement By Israeli Organizations and Movements
As Israeli organizations struggling against the occupation and for a just peace between Israel and a free and sovereign Palestinian state, we would like to express our support of the call addressed by Palestinian civil society organizations to President Bush on the occasion of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coming visit to Washington.
We especially share the position that unilateral measures cannot, in any way, be a step toward a lasting peace between the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples; peace requires dialogue and negotiation, not unilateralism. Moreover, expanding settlements and annexing “settlements blocs” cannot be seen but as a declaration of war, not a step toward peace.
As do our Palestinian friends, we urge the international community to stop the Israeli government and impose on it a return to negotiations on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions.
- Taayush – Arab Jewish Partnership.
- Coalition of women for Peace (which Include 9 women organizations).
- Bat Sahlom.
- Yesh Gvol.
- Gush shalom.
- AIC – Alternative Information Center.
- ICAHD- The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
- Anarchist against the Wall.
Israelis Endorsing the Letter:
- Dr. Ron Kuzar
Address: Department of English Language and Literature
University of Haifa
IL-31905 Haifa, Israel
Office: +972-4-824-9826, Fax: +972-4-824-9711
Home: +972-77-616-6699, Mobile: +972-54-481-9676
- Efraim Davidi:
- Lea Tsemel: Lawyer. Jerusalem.
- Uri Davis (Dr): Sakhnin 20173.Israel
For further information please contact:
Hasib Nashashibi, Ensan Center for Democracy & Human Rights
Rami Bathish, MIFTAH