by the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy
[Pax Christi USA is a member organization of the Faith Forum.]
This month, tell Congress to call for a complete halt to all settlement activity as a show of support for a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians.
Organizations in the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy are sending out action alerts monthly, focusing on different issues so that members of Congress hear consistently that their constituents support a just and lasting resolution to the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. It is hoped that through a diversity and concentration of many voices, the message will be heard in Congress that U.S. citizens want justice and peace for all in the region.
The U.S. State Department under the leadership of Secretary of State, John Kerry, is working with Israeli and Palestinian officials to develop a framework agreement for peace within the nine-month period set for negotiations that ends in April.
Days after Secretary Kerry’s latest visit to the region, Israel’s Housing Ministry issued tenders for more than 1,800 housing units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. And according to the Israeli peace advocacy group, Peace Now, Israel has issued tenders for 5,349 units east of the 1967 borders since the negotiations started.
Settlement construction anywhere in the occupied Palestinian territories undermines the prospects for peace, and in East Jerusalem, in particular, changing the facts on the ground while negotiations have not yet resolved the status of Jerusalem – which both peoples look to as their capital – only serves to erode confidence in the peace process.
Tell your members of Congress that you want them to support Secretary Kerry’s efforts by holding Israel accountable for its actions during this important time of negotiations. Ask them to call for a complete halt to all settlement activity in support of just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians.
There are now more than 500,000 Israeli settlers living the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Continued settlement expansion is harming prospects for a peaceful resolution.
Sample Letter/Email (or adapt for a phone call)
I am writing to ask your support for efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine. As a person of faith, I support a comprehensive peace that promotes justice and equality for all Israelis and Palestinians.
As you know, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has been working diligently to achieve a framework agreement for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
I am concerned that the continued expansion of Israeli settlements is undermining the prospects for peace.
Since the start of negotiations, the government of Israel has issued tenders for thousands of housing units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Building in East Jerusalem, in particular, is inflammatory, as both peoples look to Jerusalem as their capital and its status should be determined through negotiations.
To support a just and lasting peace that will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians, it is critical that the U.S. speak forthrightly, calling for a halt to all settlement activity.
Thank you for hearing my concerns,