URGENT ACTION: STOP FUNDS FOR ISRAELI BYPASS ROADS

CPTnet
November 16, 1998
URGENT ACTION: Write Legislators asking them to STOP Aid for Israeli Bypass
Roads
by Joanne "Jake" L. Kaufman

 

Dear Friends and Partners in the Campaign for Secure Dwellings:

Greetings! I just returned from Hebron and am writing to you to ask you,
your congregation and friends to do some important letter-writing work in
response to the recent Wye River agreement. The security of hundreds of
Palestinian families is threatened by the U.S. promise to Israel to "sweeten
the deal" by providing half a billion dollars in aid to help build bypass
roads in the occupied territories. In the coming days your congress people
and senators will vote to grant half a billion dollars or more to Israel to
cover costs of redeploying from the West Bank.

These bypass roads may result in hundreds or even thousands of Palestinian
home demolitions, because the Israeli right maintains that there can be no
Palestinian home within 500 meters (6.5 football fields) of these roads.

While I was in Hebron, I visited the Atta Jabber family several times.
Their home was demolished twice because it stands too close to a bypass
road. Atta's father's and brother's olive orchard across the road was
bulldozed because it stood too close to a bypass road. At least half of the
families in the Campaign for Secure Dwellings live in fear that their homes
will be demolished because they are within sight of an existent or planned
bypass road.

According to an Israeli settler news service, a mini-security cabinet met
Friday, Nov. 13, and decided to begin paving 13 more bypass roads in the
West Bank. Please write a letter like the one below to ask your legislative
representative to halt this new threat to the security of Palestinian families
living in the Occupied Territories.

If your matched family's home is threatened because of a nearby bypass road,
be sure to include that in your letter (but perhaps not their names if they
have requested that you not use them!).
========================================================
Dear Legislative Representative:

Please vote against the $500 million U.S. funding of Israeli bypass roads,
promised to Israel as a payoff for signing the Wye accords. Bypass roads
are a primary threat to the security of Palestinian families, and funding
bypass roads is in direct conflict with advancing the peace process. Such a
counterproductive expenditure would be a misuse of taxpayer funds.

Bypass roads are built in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank,
pre-empting or complicating negotiations about the final status of these
areas. In fact, a mini-security cabinet met November 13 and agreed to begin
paving eleven more bypass roads in the West Bank. These roads and the
"security zones" surrounding them threaten the security of hundreds of
Palestinian families whose homes were often built years before the road was
planned. This violates Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which
states, "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property
belonging individually or collectively to private persons . . . is
prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by
military operations."

Legislative Representative XXX, destroying Palestinian families' homes DOES
NOT enhance Israel's security. Palestinians have the right to house their
families and live in security on land that their families have owned for
generations. Please vote "NO" when it is time to decide whether to add $500
million for bypass roads to the billions Israel already receives in aid from
the United States. Please attach as a restriction to any further aid Israel
might receive the stipulation that Israel may destroy no more Palestinian
homes.

Sincerely,
[your name]

 

ADDRESSES
[Your senator's name]
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

[Your representative's name]
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515