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Letter to US Ambassador

7 April 2002

United States Ambassador Charles Swindells,
PO Box 1190,

Dear Ambassador,

We are extremely concerned about the escalating violent conflict in the Middle East and the fact that ordinary people around the world feel powerless to do anything about this horrendous situation. People inside and outside the region have been calling for the deployment of international observers to protect the Palestinians, to no avail.

We believe it is up to world leaders to make a much stronger stand and to take some action with regard to the state terrorism being perpetrated by the Israeli government, by putting pressure on them to stop their oppression of the Palestinian people. As a state, they have a responsibility and obligation to adhere to international law and human rights conventions.

We would like you to convey our concerns to your government and ask that they call for the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories according to international law, and that they support UN resolutions and declarations that respect the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Unless this happens injustices remain and there can be no peace.

The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has recently stated that he can see no prospect of breaking the current downward spiral and recreating the possibility of peace unless the core problems, including occupation, violence, terrorism and the economic plight of the Palestinian people are addressed. He has urged the Security Council to recall the adoption by the Arab League Summit last week of the Saudi peace proposal as well as the Council's own recent resolution affirming a vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognised borders.

The Arab League Declaration would make a huge difference to the situation if its proposals were carried out. In summary it states that: Israel must withdraw from the land seized in 1967, that is the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights; agree to the right of return for Palestinian refugees; and accept independent Palestine with Jerusalem as the capital. The Arab states will consider the Arab-Israel conflict over; agree to a peace treaty for the region and establish normal relations with Israel.

We believe that full support should be given to the Arab League Declaration as the means to a just resolution which also takes into account UN resolutions on this issue over many years. It should also persuade the Israeli government that they were no longer being threatened by the Arab states.

The Unites States government is directly responsible for the killings by the Israeli armed forces because of their role in arming and supporting the Israeli government. For example in the US fiscal year 2002 budget, Israel is allotted $US 2.04 billion in military aid. This aid and weapons sales should cease immediately.

Please convey this message to your government.

Yours sincerely
Joan Macdonald,
President, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Aotearoa/ New Zealand Section)

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