Safeguarding human rights should be U.S. policy priority in Israel-Palestine
(Of the signatories of the following statement, B’Tselem is a partner of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ)
Joint statement from Israeli + Palestinian peace groups and The Carter Center to President Biden
Palestinian and Israeli human rights and civil society organizations, jointly with The Carter Center, call on President Biden’s administration to make human rights and international law the compass for U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The recent efforts to normalize Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, including by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and encouraging Israel’s settlement and annexation of the West Bank, have upended decades of U.S. policy toward the conflict at the expense of Palestinian human rights.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government rushed to establish thousands of new settlement buildings, demolish Palestinian houses, and evict Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Israeli authorities have demolished and seized at least 2,350 Palestinian structures in the past four year and issued tenders for 9,700 settlement units during the same period.
While Israel continues its de facto annexation agenda, the systematic abuse of Palestinian rights remains largely unchallenged by the international community. As Israel heads toward new elections, Israeli political parties are competing to show their support for the annexationist agenda, further hindering Palestinian rights. Also, the Israeli government has adopted anti-democratic laws weakening the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and has continued its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The Biden administration has announced that it will oppose annexation and settlement expansion, and “will work to ensure that Palestinians and Israelis enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy.”
We welcome this announcement; however, a stronger policy anchored in international law and human rights is warranted to achieve security, peace, and equal rights in Israel and Palestine.
Now is the time to shift U.S. policy to adopt a new stance toward the conflict driven by the protection and advancement of equality of rights and accountability for all Palestinians and Israelis.
Palestinian Center for Human Rights
Policy and Conflict Resolution Studies Center
Gisha, Breaking the Silence
The Carter Center