US Should Press for Peace, Not Punishment for Palestine
Since 1949 AFSC has had a continuous presence in Palestine and Israel. With offices in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, AFSC works to uphold human rights and humanitarian law, build equality between Palestinians and Israelis, counter militarism, and end Israel’s occupation of the Palestine territories. Shortly after the 1967 War, AFSC became one of the first US groups to publicly call for an end to Israel’s occupation of all territories taken over in 1967 including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Since that time AFSC has consistently supported US based efforts to protect human rights and create a just, equitable, and peaceful future in Israel and Palestine by ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
AFSC’s position on the conflict and how to achieve a just peace is shaped by its belief in an ethic of reciprocity: what holds true for one side in the conflict should hold true for the other side. This means that AFSC has consistently supported the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to self determination. The Palestinian Authority has stated their intention to request membership at the UN next week as a step towards securing Palestinians' right to self determination. The Obama administration has stated their opposition to this initiative.
The US administration’s plan to veto the Palestinian Authority’s anticipated UN membership application regrettably signals the continuation of US policy that obstructs Palestinian self-determination and undermines prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Many members of Congress are proposing the elimination of development and humanitarian assistance for Palestinians and the withholding of all funding to UN programs that recognize any upgrade to the status of the Palestinian mission. Threats to unjustly punish Palestinians and possibly even the entire UN system in response to decisions by UN member states on Palestine will only undermine security for Israelis and Palestinians.
US Quaker organizations (AFSC, FCNL, and QUNO) believe the Obama administration and Congress should respond in ways which uphold their obligation to respect international law and President Obama’s 2010 commitment to establishing an independent Palestinian state.