Friday, March 10, 2017

Message for Congressman Moulton who Voted for House Resolution 11

Hi Peter Billerbeck,

I received a letter from Congressman Moulton dated February 6, 2017, in which he explains why he voted in favor of House Resolution 11.

Let me tell you why I strongly disagree with the contents of this letter..

The letter limits the charges against Israel to its expansion of settlements and attempts to set up some equivalency between that and the sporadic violence of Palestinians.

This is an incredibly narrow view of what Israel has done.

You and the Congressman have letters and emails from me describing 50 years of Israel’s oppression and violations of Palestinian human rights in the occupied territories including not only the illegality of the occupation and the settlements but also:  distributing water unequally denying Palestinians fair access to minimal water while allowing ample water to squatters for irrigation and pools, stealing land and taking control over 40% of the West Bank; destroying over 48,000 homes and other structures since 1967 (very few for security reasons); building a wall, 85% inside the green line separating families from their lands, schools and businesses; overlooking squatters and the IDF destroying 800,000 olive trees; illegally establishing one (military) law for Palestinians and another (Israeli) law for squatters; failing to enforce criminal laws against squatters while punishing Palestinians for the same actions; illegally restricted movement by constructing many checkpoints and physical barriers (many unrelated to security concerns resulting in difficulty in getting to jobs and medical assistance); holding thousands of Palestinians, sometimes more than a year, without ever charging them with a crime. In addition Israel has on four occasions since 2006, chosen to invade Gaza, using excessive force, including in 2014, killing over 2000 Palestinians, mostly women and children and two-thirds civilians, and destroying or damaging over 96,000 houses and structures.

The letter states that the shared goal is reaching resolution between the parties of this two-sided conflict. The solution is NOT a resolution between only the two parties. In this case where one side has been an oppressor for 50 years and has been the subject for 50 years of condemnation from the UN, often supported by the US, the solution is world pressure on Israel (including especially the BDS movement) to cease and desist from violating the human rights of Palestinians.

In addition the letters states that the H. Res. 11 “correctly emphasizes that the only path to a lasting peace between the Israeli and the Palestinian people is a durable two-state solution where both sides can safely live side-by-side.” Wrong again! There is increasing acknowledgement (including an op-ed by Thomas Friedman) that because of Israel’s 50 year illegal settlement policy, the two-state solution is dead. It is time to explore possible structures for one democratic state, such as a federation, where  all residents have equal rights.

I apologize for the delay in responding to the letter but I was vacationing until yesterday in southern Arizona. While there I had the opportunity to visit the Tohono O’odham reservation and its cultural center as well as other museums created by American Indians. One learns or is reminded of the  cruel treatment of them by non-American Indians including: maps showing the small fraction of land given to them after most of it was stolen; the forced marches, including the “trail of tears”, endured as they were evicted from their lands and sent to reservations (refugee centers?); the attempted forced “civilization” of the “savages” by shipping off children to boarding schools hundreds of miles from their homes in order to help them forget their culture; and many other violations of American Indian human rights. The results can be seen today in the sad picture of poverty, alcoholism and diabetes on most reservations. There are also, of course, stories about the violence of American Indians such as Geronimo against newly arrived immigrants to their lands.

I mention that, obviously, because there is a great similarity between what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians and what “we” did to the American Indians.

We are today enlightened, perhaps, and would not have so easily have justified the violations of American Indians human rights by saying their violence was the same as our taking of their lands to build towns for our settlers from Europe and elsewhere.

Nor is it likely, except in some parts of the country, to say today that the two parties – American Indians and Europeans should have met and established two-states, one for the American Indians and one Christian state for the non-American Indian settlers..

I would ask Congressman Moulton to consider these thoughts the next time he is about to take a position on an issue involving the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

I am also concerned, based on the letter I received, that the Congressman may not be taking full advantage of a number of individuals, both constituents and others in the Boston area, who can provide him with a wealth of facts about the Palestine/Israel conflict.

I invite you to contact me at your convenience so that I can provide you with contact information about some of them.

Thank you and the congressman for your efforts for peace with justice.

Ron Fox

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