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International | Racial Justice

Why does the US fund and arm Ethnic Cleansing?
by Harvest McCampbell
Monday Sep 1st, 2014 9:52 AM
An open letter to President Obama and Members of Congress.
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President Obama and Members of Congress:

I am very concerned about the US’s involvement with ethnic cleansing. As you know, “. . . ethnic cleansing is a well-defined policy of a particular group of persons to systematically eliminate another group from a given territory on the basis of religion, ethnic or national origin. Such a policy involves violence and is often connected with military operations. It is to be achieved by all possible means, from discrimination to extermination, and entails violations of human rights and international law . . . Most ethnic cleansing methods are grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Convention and 1977 Additional Protocols.” Drazen Petrovic, ‘Ethnic Cleansing—An Attempt at Methodology’, European Journal of International Law, 5/3 (1994), pp. 342-60.

However, you may not be aware that " . . . on a cold Wednesday afternoon, 10 March 1948, a group of eleven men, veteran Zionist leaders together with young Jewish military officers, put the final touches to a plan for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. That same evening, military orders were dispatched to the units on the ground to prepare for the systematic expulsion of the Palestinians from vast areas of the country. The orders came with a detailed description of the methods to be employed to forcibly evict the people: large-scale intimidation, laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centers; setting fire to homes, properties and goods; expulsion; demolition; and, finally planting mines in the rubble to prevent any of the expelled inhabitants from returning." Ilan Pappe, Israeli Historian, in 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,’ from the preface, page xii. This passage is very well documented in end notes; sources include the Israeli Defense Force's own archives.

If the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was something that only went on in 1948, perhaps we could forget about it today. Unfortunately, many of the methods of the Israeli military and government outlined above have continued slowly and steadily until today while being interspersed with extreme punishing violence. Israel has endeavored to keep their policies and practices of ethnic cleansing out of the media and out of the public eye and to blame its victims when we do become aware. Even today—in our enlightened modern world, where we embrace religious plurality and racial diversity—this ethnic cleansing is going on, and the US supports it.

Israel claims its actions are in self defense. (1) The US echoes this call; and sends military aid and arms against the tiny territories which remain of one of the oldest civilizations on earth. (2) We send arms against the civilian populations of Gaza and the West Bank which are used for the purpose of ethnic cleansing. Self defense would only be a reasonable and accurate claim if Israel retreated to its own legal and internationally recognized borders. (3) Israel in its illegal occupation of the West Bank (4) and its illegal blockade of Gaza (5) is the aggressor. This can be clearly seen by studying any map that shows the territory taken over by Israeli forces over the years and which continues today. (6)

In fact, there is a growing understanding in the world and even inside Israel, that it is Israel’s own aggressive actions that most threaten its security. (7) We must rethink our support for Israel in the light of our own values; the values of the separation of church and state; and the values of freedom, equality, and justice for all. Withdrawing our military support from Israel’s ethnic cleansing activities and helping Israel to find ways to peacefully withdraw from its illegal occupation and illegal blockades is the right thing to do. It is the only action we can take which supports our values. And it is the only action we can take which will preserve our reputation in the world’s community of nations as a fair and just nation.


Why does the US fund and arm ethnic cleansing? Perhaps this is just a rhetorical question. The better question might well be; how are we going to defund and de-arm ethnic cleansing?

Harvest McCampbell
US Citizen, Resident, Voter, and Tax Payer

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Sources and documentation:

1. “Israel Does Not Have the Right to Self-Defense In International Law Against Occupied Palestinian Territory”—it does however have the right to police, but not to make war: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39079.htm

2. Palestine, previously called Philistine, is clearly shown on the map on the page linked below, covering the time period of 930 BCE–586 BCE. In fact, all other historical maps of the region, until recent aggressions, clearly show Palestine as existing in the same geographic area and with the same major cities as are shown in modern maps up until 1948. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Judah

3. The legal and internationally accepted borders of Israel are well known and clearly defined. “The EU and its Member States will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders . . .” http://www.i24news.tv/app.php/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/36256-140704-17-eu-countries-warn-of-trade-with-settlements Pre-1967 borders are clearly shown on the map on this page: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/rowmaps.html

4. This interactive map shows Israeli occupation outside its legal and internationally accepted borders in Palestinian West Bank Territory: http://www.theguardian.com/flash/page/0,,2088220,00.html to best understand what you are looking at, click and leave on the "green line" button (under security barrier). With nothing else clicked on, you can easily see the light colored area inside the green line--which is all Palestinian territory under international law. (The green line is synonymous with pre-1967 borders. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Line_%28Israel%29) On the interactive map, leaving the "green line" clicked on; you can click other buttons on and off and get a clear picture of the extent of Israeli incursions into and occupation of the West Bank as well as a clear look at the results of Israeli ethnic cleansing as supported by the US. This ethnic cleansing, as well as the accompanying incursions and occupation of the West Bank continue today: http://news.yahoo.com/israel-plans-expropriate-400-hectares-west-bank-army-092041942.html

5. “For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law.” This statement was made in 2012. Gaza has now been blockaded for seven years. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42227#.VAM49GM0_SY

6. “Israel & Palestine: The Maps Tell the True Story:” http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/mapstellstory.html

7. “ . . . many members of the country's (Israel’s) security establishment have long warned that the occupation is unsustainable and wrong, is a threat to Israel itself, and have placed the blame on Israeli political failures.” http://www.vox.com/2014/7/7/5877375/former-security-chief-blame-the-israeli-government-not-palestinians “Forty-four per cent (of American Jews) believe that the construction of new settlements damages Israel’s national security”: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/01/friends-israel

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Please feel free to copy and paste all of the above, remove my name and add your own, and send by e-mail or snail mail to the elected leaders, officials, and representatives in your country. You may also send it, in your own name, as a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Since you will be signing your own name, please feel free to edit, or make additions as you see fit. Also, please change the salutation to address the specific person you are sending it to, say, President Obama, or Bernie Sanders, for instance.

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Contact your Congressional Reps!

You can click on your state on the map below, and all your state reps are shown, with phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and contact forms. If the numbers are overwhelming go back to the first page and simply enter your zip code in the form (no other information is needed) only the reps for your area will appear. http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

Contact the White House using this form: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments
You might also want to facebook for your reps’ names, and post this or similar statements in comments or directly to their pages.

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If you want to do more than write a letter, Boycott for Peace! http://www.facebook.com/groups/Boycott.for.Peace/