Oppose HR 4681

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's national campaign Women Challenge US Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East [WCUSP] urges you to act on this important legislation!

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, WILPF has been challenging the US policy objective of securing hegemony over the resources and power in the Middle East region. U.S. support for Israeli and US expansionism has deepened the divide between the peoples. This is a situation where there is no winner. The only nation that can stop this destructive cycle is the United States, by changing its policy.

Background:

The results of the Palestinian legislative election have led some to challenge US aid to the Palestinian people. But US funds do not go to the Palestinian Authority. They provide development assistance, humanitarian aid, and vital support for building democratic institutions in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians should be congratulated, not admonished and threatened with diplomatic isolation and a cut off of aid, for conducting a free and fair legislative election under conditions of Israeli military occupation, restrictions on their freedom of movement and ability to campaign freely. The United States government need not be happy that Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council. But by undermining moderate forces in Palestinian society, the US would only be strengthening Hamas and other religious and reactionary forces in Palestinian society. Far from opposing terrorism, HR 4681 would only feed the forces of hatred in all of the Middle East.

Action:

Join WILPF, The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and almost 200 other organizations in taking action against HR4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.

ORGANIZATIONAL SIGN-ON LETTER AGAINST HR4681, THE PALESTINIAN ANTI-TERRORISM ACT OF 2006

TO: House International Relations Committee, Judiciary Committee, and Financial Services Committee

CC: Congressional Representatives

DATE: February 27, 2006

The following organizations strongly oppose H.R.4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, and urge Members of Congress to oppose it as well.

This resolution, introduced after the recent Palestinian legislative election which resulted in a Hamas victory, goes far beyond reiterating the current US ban on direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority; it also calls for many troubling provisions that would punish and isolate the Palestinian people for exercising their right to vote. This unconstructive approach would only perpetuate the status quo of violence, military occupation, and human rights violations rather than promoting dialogue and a just, peaceful resolution to the conflict.

The provisions include restricting US humanitarian aid; designating Palestinian territory as a “terrorist sanctuary” thus triggering restrictions on US exports; prohibiting official Palestinian diplomacy or representation in the United States in a way counter-productive to promoting dialogue and a just peace; reducing US dues to the United Nations because some of its bodies were created by the UN to advocate for Palestinian human rights; and denying Palestinians the ability to receive assistance through international financial institutions.

The United States says that it is committed to promoting democracy. If that is indeed the case, it is inappropriate for Members of Congress to advance legislation that would punish and isolate people through draconian economic and diplomatic measures when the result of an election is not to the liking of the United States.

Signed by,

1. 14 Friends of Palestine, San Rafael, CA
2. Afrikan Amerikan Institute for Policy Studies, Greenville, SC
3. Albany Peace Seekers, Albany, OR
4. American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Washington, DC
5. American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee—Chicago Chapter, Elmhurst, IL
6. American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee—Kentucky Chapter, Louisville, KY
7. American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee—Los Angeles Chapter, Lacanada, CA
8. American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee—New York Chapter, New York, NY
9. American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee—Philadelphia Chapter, Philadelphia, PA
10. American Arab Forum, Denville, NJ
11. American Council on Middle East Policy, New York, NY
12. American Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia, PA
13. American Friends Service Committee—Chicago, Chicago, IL
14. American Friends Service Committee—Southeast Regional Office, Atlanta, GA
15. American Palestinian Public Affairs Forum, Louisville, KY
16. Americans Committed to Justice and Truth, Sagle, ID
17. Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East, Santa Barbara, CA
18. Americans for a Palestinian State, Oakland, CA
19. Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, Portland, OR
20. Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Ann Arbor, MI
21. Arab/Jewish Peace Alliance, Albuquerque, NM
22. Arab Student Union, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI
23. Atlanta Palestine Solidarity, Atlanta, GA
24. A Touch of the Holy Land, Amery, WI
25. Ayar Engineering and Trading, Inc., Falls Church, VA
26. Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice, Oakland, CA
27. Benedictine Sisters, Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, KS
28. Bethlehem Association, Media, PA
29. Birmingham Peace Project, Birmingham, AL
30. Black Voices for Peace, Washington, DC
31. Bosnia Support Committee, Washington, DC
32. Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Boston, MA
33. Boveri Workgroup, Bethesda, MD
34. Break the Silence, Berkeley, CA
35. Bubbes & Zaydes (Grandparents) for Peace in the Middle East, Philadelphia, PA
36. Buffalo/Western New York International Action Center, Buffalo, NY
37. Catholic Peace Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA
38. Children of Abraham, Birmingham, AL
39. Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Indianapolis, IN
40. Citizens for Fair Legislation, Alameda, CA
41. Citizens for Just Democracy, Amarillo, TX
42. Citizens for Justice in the Middle East, Kansas City, MO
43. Coalition for Peace with Justice, Chapel Hill, NC
44. Colorado Jews for Just Peace, Boulder, CO
45. Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, Oak Park, IL
46. Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine, Wainscott, NY
47. Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, New York, NY
48. Community for Peace, Winston Salem, NC
49. Council for the National Interest, Washington, DC
50. Council on American-Islamic Relations—Ohio, Columbus, OH
51. Dane County (WI) Democrats for Peace, Cottage Grove, WI
52. DC Anti-War Network, Washington, DC
53. DC Poets Against the War, Washington, DC
54. Deir Yassin Remembered, Geneva, NY
55. Dollars and Sins, Princeton, NJ
56. Don Quixote Society, Sherwood, OR
57. Duval Greens Party, Jacksonville, FL
58. Ecumenical Peace Institute, Berkeley, CA
59. El-Bireh Palestine Society, Cleveland, OH
60. Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Chicago, IL
61. Episcopal Peace Fellowship of East Carolina, Carolina Beach, NC
62. Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Southwest Washington, Vancouver, WA
63. Eyes Infinite Films, Golden Beach, FL
64. Florida Palestine Solidarity Network, Pensacola, FL
65. Free Speech League, Winston Salem, NC
66. Friends of Deir Ibzi’a, Berkeley, CA
67. Friends of Middle East Peace, Corvallis, OR
68. Friends of Sabeel—North America, Portland, OR
69. Ghost Ranch, Santa Fe, NM
70. Global Exchange, San Francisco, CA
71. Grassroots International, Boston, MA
72. Green Party of the United States, Washington, DC
73. Helena Peace Seekers, Helena, MT
74. Hindus for Peace and Justice, West Melbourne, FL
75. Home for Peace and Justice, Saginaw, MI
76. Home Perfection Contracting, Springfield, VA
77. Imagine-Life, Washington, DC
78. Institute for Palestine Studies, Washington, DC
79. Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights, Austin, TX
80. International Action Center, New York, NY
81. International Socialist Organization, Chicago, IL
82. International Solidarity Movement—Chicago Chapter, Chicago, IL
83. Iowa Green Party, Iowa City, IA
84. Islamic Education and Information Center, Milpitas, CA
85. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions—USA, Chapel Hill, NC
86. Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development, Washington, DC
87. Jewish Voice for Peace, Oakland, CA
88. Jewish Women for Justice in Israel/Palestine, Boston, MA
89. Jews Against the Occupation, New York, NY
90. Jews for Global Justice, Portland, OR
91. Joining Hands Against Hunger, Atlanta/Palestine, Atlanta, GA
92. Justice Committee, Congregation of St. Joseph, Cleveland, OH
93. Justice First Foundation, West Kingston, RI
94. Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Louisville, KY
95. Lakeshore Peacemakers, Manitowoc, WI
96. LA Petrophysics, La Habra Heights, CA
97. Latinos Por Mumia, Bronx, NY
98. Louisville Committee for Israeli/Palestinian States, Louisville, KY
99. Louisville Committee for Peace in the Middle East, Louisville, KY
100. Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Madison, WI
101. Maine Peace and Justice in Israel/Palestine, Portland, ME
102. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Washington, DC
103. Michigan Peace Team, Lansing, MI
104. Middle East Children’s Alliance, Berkeley, CA
105. Middle East Fellowship, Pasadena, CA
106. Middle East Peace Now of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
107. Middle East Policy Advisory Council, Oakland, CA
108. Middle East Research and Information Project, Washington, DC
109. Middle Eastern Center for Cultural and Religious Affairs, Baton Rouge, LA
110. MidEast: Just Peace, Cedar, MI
111. Monterey County Citizens for Middle East Peace, Monterey, CA
112. Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation—Kansas City Chapter, Kansas City, MO
113. Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation—San Diego Chapter, San Diego, CA
114. Muslim Community of the Palouse, Moscow, ID
115. Muslim Student Association, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
116. Muslim Voters of America, Oak Park, IL
117. Naka ’48, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
118. National Association of Muslim American Women, Columbus, OH
119. National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco, CA
120. Northern Detroit Society for Peace and Justice, Sterling Heights, MI
121. Not in My Name, Evanston, IL
122. Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, Milwaukee, WI
123. Olympia Friends Meeting, Olympia, WA
124. Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project, Olympia, WA
125. Pacifica Forum, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
126. Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, Kent, OH
127. Palestine-Israel Action Group, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, Ann Arbor, MI
128. Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the United Methodist Church, Minnesota Annual Conference, Paynesville, MN
129. Palestine Solidarity Committee, Seattle, WA
130. Palestinian American Congress, Astoria, NY
131. Palestinian American Congress—CT Chapter, South Windsor, CT
132. Palestinian Concern Group, Seattle, WA
133. Palestinian Education Network, Concord, NH
134. Palestinian National Initiative (Al-Mubadara), Anaheim, CA
135. Palestinians for Peace and Democracy, San Antonio, TX
136. Pakistan Weekly, Berkeley, CA
137. Partners for Peace, Washington, DC
138. Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement, Washington, DC
139. Peace Action, Silver Spring, MD
140. Peace Action Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
141. Peace and Social Concerns Committee, Winston-Salem Friends Meeting, Winston-Salem, NC
142. Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas, Wichita, KS
143. Peace Majority Report, Lindenhurst, IL
144. Peace Mark, Valley Center, CA
145. People of Faith CT, West Hartford, CT
146. Peoria Area Peace Network, Peoria, IL
147. Progressive Democrats of America, Phoenix, AZ
148. Queers for Palestine, New York, NY
149. Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, Olympia, WA
150. Rebuilding Alliance, Palo Alto, CA
151. Red Wing Alliance for Peace, Red Wing, MN
152. Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Boulder, CO
153. Rule 19, Cambridge, MA
154. San Diego News Service, San Diego, CA
155. September 11 Action, Piedmont, CA
156. Sisters of Mercy, Regional Community of Detroit, Detroit Leadership Team, Farmington, MI
157. Soft Sound, St. Louis, MO
158. Sound Service Company, North Hollywood, CA
159. South Bay Mobilization for Peace and Justice, San Jose, CA
160. Southern Vermont Tikkun Community, East Dummerston, VT
161. South Kingstown Justice, Peace and Action Group, Narragansett, RI
162. South Suburban Progressive Forum, Monee, IL
163. St. Louis Women in Black, St. Louis, MO
164. St. Peter’s College Social Justice Program, Jersey City, NJ
165. Strength Through Peace, Fort Collins, CO
166. Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, Ann Arbor, MI
167. Students for International Knowledge, Loma Linda, CA
168. Talking Drum Collective, Stone Mountain, GA
169. Tikkun, Berkeley, CA
170. Tri-City Peace and Justice, Fremont, CA
171. Tucson Women in Black, Tucson, AZ
172. Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Cambridge, MA
173. United for Peace and Justice, New York, NY
174. United for Peace and Justice, Irving, TX
175. Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice and Peace, New York, NY
176. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Washington, DC
177. Veterans for Peace, Pensacola Chapter, Pensacola, FL
178. Veterans for Peace, Rachel Corrie Chapter #109, Olympia, WA
179. Virginia Anti-War Network, Aylett, VA
180. Voices of Palestine, Seattle, WA
181. Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, Washington, DC
182. We Are Wide Awake, Clermont, FL
183. WESPAC Foundation, White Plains, NY
184. Western North Carolina Peace Coalition, Asheville, NC
185. Western New York Peace Center, Buffalo, NY
186. Western New York Veterans for Peace, Buffalo, NY
187. Winston-Salem Friends Meeting, Winston-Salem, NC
188. Women Against Military Madness, Middle East Committee, Minneapolis, MN
189. Women in Black, Los Angeles, CA
190. Women in Black, Metro Detroit, Detroit, MI
191. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section, Philadelphia, PA
192. Young Korean American Service and Education Center, Flushing, NY
193. Youth for Justice in Anchorage, Anchorage, AK

Click here to add your organization to the sign-on letter.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON HR4681, THE PALESTINIAN ANTI-TERRORISM ACT OF 2006

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has learned that the House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday, Feb. 15 on S.Con.Res.79, which the Senate passed by unanimous consent on Feb. 1.

This concurrent resolution states that "no United States assistance should be provided directly to the Palestinian Authority if any representative political party holding a majority of parliamentary seats within the Palestinian Authority maintains a position calling for the destruction of Israel."

This resolution is of little importance and amounts to political grandstanding since the United States already prohibits direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in any case. Some Members of Congress, however, have gone much further than this and have used the result of the Palestinian legislative election as a pretext to advance their extreme anti-Palestinian agenda.

Of the several anti-Palestinian resolutions introduced by Members of Congress in the aftermath of the legislative election, the most far-reaching is H.R.4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on February 1. Click here to get your organization involved in opposing this resolution.

The central provision of this resolution would prohibit the United States from providing direct assistance to the PA unless the President certifies that it has fulfilled a long list of subjective and ambiguous conditions. Current law already prohibits the United States from providing direct assistance to the PA unless the President signs a national security waiver, and in fact the United States provides no direct assistance to the PA.

However, this resolution goes far beyond reiterating the current US ban on direct assistance to the PA; it also calls for many troubling provisions that would punish and isolate the Palestinian people for exercising their right to vote, including:

* Restricting humanitarian aid. Through its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel has de-developed the Palestinian economy by destroying infrastructure and agricultural lands; by inhibiting the development of internal trade through walls, checkpoints, roadblocks, closures, and curfews; and by preventing external trade through border closings. US humanitarian assistance, overseen by USAID and implemented by certified non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), is not only essential to preventing the complete collapse of the Palestinian economy under these difficult conditions imposed by Israel; it is also morally necessary since the United States supports these Israeli policies through $3 billion of direct military and economic assistance every year. Even though it contains a waiver for certain humanitarian aid categories, this resolution threatens US assistance to NGO’s in Palestinian territories by putting it in the same category as aid to the PA.

* Designating Palestinian territory as a “terrorist sanctuary”. Under the terms of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, this designation would trigger restrictions on US exports to Palestinian territories, effectively gutting the free trade agreement between the United States and the West Bank and Gaza Strip and further crippling the Palestinian economy.

* Prohibiting official Palestinian diplomacy or representation in the United States. Restricting Palestinian diplomacy in the United States would be counter-productive to efforts to promote dialogue and a just peace, further eroding the claim of the United States to be an “honest broker”. This resolution would deny visas to PA representatives; restrict the movement of Palestinian diplomats at the UN; and shut down the PLO information office in Washington.

* Targeting the UN for supporting Palestinian human rights. The Palestinians have been denied their human rights through Israeli dispossession and military occupation. The United Nations has voted by overwhelming majorities to create bodies like the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to advocate for the realization of unmet Palestinian human rights. This resolution seeks to defund these bodies by calling on the United States to withhold UN dues in proportion to the percentage of the UN budget that funds these bodies.

* Denying Palestinians the ability to receive assistance through international financial institutions. The World Bank has been working with the PA to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip since Israel’s unilateral “disengagement” from it in 2005. Funds are needed urgently to rebuild thousands of homes that Israel destroyed there. The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip could be in jeopardy if this bill is passed. It contains a provision instructing the United States, which has a controlling vote at the World Bank, to vote against such funding.

The United States says that it is committed to promoting democracy. If that is indeed the case, it is inappropriate for Members of Congress to advance legislation that would punish and isolate people through draconian economic and diplomatic measures when the result of an election is not to the liking of the United States.

That is why the following organizations—the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the American Friends Service Committee, the Council for the National Interest, Global Exchange, Jewish Voice for Peace, Middle East Children’s Alliance, Partners for Peace, Pax Christi USA, Peace Action Wisconsin, Progressive Democrats of America, Tikkun, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation—are joining together in a coordinated national campaign to oppose H.R.4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.

Individuals and organizations can support this campaign by:

1) Sending emails to their Members of Congress.

2) Meeting with their Members of Congress during the President’s Day district work period (Feb. 20-24).

3) Participating in a national call-in day on Tuesday, February 28.

4) Signing a letter addressed to the House Committees on International Relations, the Judiciary, and Financial Services and to each Representative to be delivered on the national call-in day.

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