ADC and ACJ Call for the Removal of Israeli Forces from Orient House
WASHINGTON, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the American Committee on Jerusalem (ACJ) today condemned Israel’s seizure of Orient House, the unofficial headquarters of Palestinian political activity in the occupied East Jerusalem. The groups also expressed grave concern about attacks by Israeli F-16 jets on the Ramallah police station in the occupied West Bank.
Rashid Khalidi, President of ACJ, called on the Bush Administration to take immediate steps to ensure that Israel remove its occupation forces from Orient House and prevent any further escalation and provocations by Israel. He said “These measures are a prescription for increased violence and insecurity. Orient House is the symbol of Palestinian life and collective rights in Jerusalem, and for Israel to seize it and fly the Israeli flag from its rooftop can only be designed to enflame Palestinian sentiments and declare that Israel has no intention of ending its 34 year illegal occupation of Arab East Jerusalem. Jerusalem must be a shared and open city in order to establish a lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Arab East Jerusalem cannot continue to be subjected to the brutality of Israeli occupation, which we have just witnessed once again.”
Ziad Asali, Chief Operating Officer of ADC, said that “while we condemn all attacks aimed at civilians, it must be recognized that the current conflict is driven by the ongoing Israeli occupation, which international law and numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions stipulate must be brought to an end. The Israeli government led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has refused to enter any negotiations with Palestinians since taking office, and has relied entirely on a military strategy based on shooting demonstrators, assassinating political activists, and besieging Palestinian towns and villages. This strategy of trying to beat the Palestinian people into submission can only produce ever greater levels of violence, and is bound to fail. The only way to end the violence in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel is to bring the occupation to a quick and complete end.”
ADC and ACJ once again called on the Bush Administration to suspend all further transfers of weapons to Israel until it can ensure that these weapons are not used against Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. They expressed concern that, by attacking Palestinians living under its military occupation with American-supplied F-16 jets, Israel was yet again violating the Arms Export Control Act. The Act provides that U.S. supplied weapons may only be used for defensive purposes. Israel’s bombing of defenseless Palestinian towns with F-16s and its use of American-made helicopters in its campaign of extrajudicial executions of Palestinian activists violate the 4th Geneva Convention, the laws of war, and American law.