ADC: Urge the U.S. to Attend Conference on Palestinian Human Rights
Urge the U.S. to Attend the July 15 UN Conference on Palestinian Human Rights
The US government is refusing to attend a UN conference on the enforcement of the Geneva Convention in the Israeli-Occupied Territories
scheduled for July 15. Israeli practices in the Occupied Territories that violate the Convention include settlement activity, land confiscation, home demolitions, torture, and assassinations, among others. A full explanation of the situation is contained in today’s ADC Press Release on the subject, reproduced below.
Please contact the State Department and urge them to drop their opposition to the July 15 conference and accept the human rights of the Palestinian people. Language from the press release may be used as talking points.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
write to her at:
2261 C St.., NW
Washington, DC 20520
Please cc all communications to
ADC Press Release:
Arab-Americans See Mixed-Messages on Palestinian Rights from White House
Washington D.C., July 2 — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee (ADC) and the Arab-American community are gratified by recent
positive statements on Palestinian human rights by President Clinton, but are deeply troubled by administration opposition to a U.N. conference to enforce protections for Palestinian human rights.
Speaking on behalf of the right of return for the Palestinian refugees, President Clinton said that “I would like it if the Palestinian people felt free and were free to live wherever they like, wherever they want to live.” ADC commends President Clinton for recognizing the right of return of the Palestinian people, and their right to live in freedom in their own country, Palestine. This right is enshrined in the Geneva Convention, in U.N. Resolution 194 which was passed after the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel in 1948, and in countless other U.N. Resolutions. What prevents this right from being exercised is the refusal of Israel for the past 51 years to allow the Palestinians to return to their homes. Instead, Israel insists on the right of Jews from around the world to settle anywhere in Palestine, including in the Occupied Territories.
Settlement activity in areas under foreign military occupation is strictly forbidden by the Fourth Geneva Convention, which specifies that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territories it occupies.” U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 clearly refers to the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem as territories under occupation. On Feb. 9, the U.N., with only the U.S. and Israel voting “no,” agreed to a July 15 conference on Israeli violations of the Geneva Convention in the Occupied Territories. U.S. representatives have suggested that enforcing Geneva Convention protections would not “improve the lot” of the Palestinian people, and that such enforcement would “prejudice negotiations,” which suggests that Palestinians are expected to negotiate away rights contained in the Geneva Convention. The U.S. is leading an effort to block and/or discredit the Conference by boycotting it and urging other nations to do the same. Vice President Al Gore told a meeting of Israeli lobbyists on May 23 that “we will work diligently to halt the
meeting of the Fourth Geneva Convention proposed for July 15. America will boycott it and urge others to do the same.” Already Canada and Australia have succumbed to U.S. pressure and will not attend.
The administration should stop sending mixed messages. In the spirit of the President’s recent statement, we urge the administration clarify its support for the human rights of Palestinians, their right of return and their right to Geneva Convention protections. The United States should attend and support the July 15 conference.