3rd Thursday Alert: Urge Congress to speak out against settlements, speak up for peace

Recent developments in Israel and the West Bank make it even more urgent for the U.S. Congress to speak out against Israeli settlements, and for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

3rd_Thursday_logo.jpgSince the beginning of this year, the Israeli government has approved over 6,000 new housing units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. And on February 6 the Israeli Knesset passed a bill retroactively legalizing some settlement outposts built in the West Bank on privately owned Palestinian land. While the bill, which is being challenged in Israeli court, makes these outposts legal under Israeli law, in fact all settlements are illegal under international law.

The rapid expansion of settlements and this latest effort in the Knesset to legitimize some outposts undermine the prospects for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The problems with expanding settlements, however, are not just in diminished prospects for peace. Settlement expansion also means ongoing suffering for Palestinians. As settlements expand, Palestinians are pushed out of their homes and off their lands, homes are demolished, trees are uprooted, and the West Bank is carved up by settler by-pass roads, making travel for Palestinians arduous if not impossible.

Contact your senators and representative today and ask them to speak out against Israeli settlements and for peace. Let them know you believe an end to settlements will serve the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians by helping lead to a just peace.

For more information:

Please feel free to use this sample letter:

Dear Senator/Representative,

I am writing to urge you to speak out against the expansion of Israeli settlements and for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Recent developments make the need for action even more urgent: Since the beginning of this year, the Israeli government has approved over 6,000 new housing units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. And on February 6 the Israeli Knesset passed a bill retroactively legalizing some settlement outposts built in the West Bank on privately owned Palestinian land. While the bill, which is being challenged in Israeli court, makes these outposts legal under Israeli law, in fact all settlements are illegal under international law.

The rapid expansion of settlements and this latest effort in the Knesset to legitimize some outposts undermine the prospects for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The problems with expanding settlements, however, are not just in diminished prospects for peace. Settlement expansion also means ongoing suffering for Palestinians. As settlements expand, Palestinians are pushed out of their homes and off their lands, homes are demolished, trees are uprooted, and the West Bank is carved up by settler by-pass roads, making travel for Palestinians arduous if not impossible.

I ask you to speak out against Israeli settlements and for peace. As a person of faith who seeks the welfare of all persons, I believe an end to settlements will serve the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians by helping lead to a just peace.

With gratitude for your service,

[Related: The UCC's JPANet Action Alert this week opposes the US Embassy move to Jerusalem and settlements.  Please consider using both the 3rd Thursday Alert and the JPANet Action Alert.

Also: Ecumenical letter to Congress and the Administration calling for peace, justice, and equality in Israel and Palestine.]


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