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Date posted: July 23, 2006
By MIFTAH & ENSAN

Note: The following letter is a joint initiative between ENSAN Center for Democracy & Human Rights and the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). It has been signed and endorsed by several Palestinian public figures.

Dear Secretary Rice,

As representatives of Palestinian civil society organisations, political figures, and members of the greater Palestinian family, we urge you to take concrete steps in order 1) to enforce an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and oblige Israel to stop its military escalation against innocent civilians, 2) to pursue a ďgreater Middle EastĒ based on justice and equality, and 3) to equally pursue a ďgreater US roleĒ in the Middle East which could achieve a durable and just peace in the region based on the political aspirations and legal rights of the Arab world.

The ongoing Israeli aggression against Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories has so far claimed the lives of 362 Lebanese civilians (since 12 July) and 141 Palestinians (since Israelís ďOperation Summer RainĒ against the Gaza Strip began more than 1 month ago). It has also resulted in the displacement of approximately 500,000 Lebanese civilians from their homes and inflicted heavy infrastructural damage on Lebanon, estimated at US$ 300 million (US$ 200 million on infrastructure and US$ 100 million on civilian property).

The ongoing Israeli atrocities against Lebanon will further inflame an already resentful popular Arab sentiment against US foreign policy in the region, thus against the American people, particularly, but not solely, in light of evident US military support to Israel at this time.

There are currently widespread media reports confirming that the US ďÖis rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against [Lebanon]. According to [anonymous US officials], the munitions being sent are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed. [The package] provides authority for Israel to purchase from the United States as many as 100 GBU-28s, which are 5,000-pound (2,268-kilogram) laser-guided bombs intended to destroy concrete bunkers. The package also provides for selling satellite-guided munitions.Ē (AFP)

We do not comprehend how such actions by the US can promote the cause of peace in our region. The prerequisites of security and stability in the Middle East can never be fulfilled by arming Israel, let alone by RUSHING to increase its means of destruction, which it has never hesitated in utilising against civilian targets.

Unless your interventions are based on a clear vision to reverse the injustice committed by Israel against Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories, we do not believe that your objectives will be met.

We urge you not to exploit the current turmoil in the region in order to merely promote US and Israeli strategic interests by enforcing a short-sighted/one-sided political solution to the crisis. The US must finally realise that it has an obligation, as a global superpower and key player in the region, to uphold the principles of international law, which Israel has repeatedly violated with impunity.

We urge you to mobilise your efforts in order to put an end to the root causes of hostilities by acknowledging that Israelís illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories captured in the June 1967 War (the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip) continues to draw the entire region into the abyss of war and bloodshed.

We urge you to hold Israel responsible for its brutality against the people of Lebanon, for its excessive use of force against civilians, for its continued violation of the most basic and fundamental principles of international and humanitarian law, particularly the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949.

You have before you a historic opportunity to serve the interest of humanity in this shattered region; we urge you to find the will and logic to pursue this noble cause.

Signed,

  • Dr. Hanan Ashrawi: Palestinian Legislative Council member for ďThe Third WayĒ parliamentary block, and Head of MIFTAHís Executive Committee.
  • Dr. Azmi Shuaibi: Former Palestinian Legislative Council member, and General Coordinator of the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity-AMAN.
  • Naim Ashhab: Journalist, Writer. Jerusalem
  • Qais Abdel Karim: PLC Member. PDFLP Politburo Member, PLO
  • Bassam Salhi: PLC Member, G. Secretary of Palestinian People's Party. Ramallah.
  • Saleh Ra'afat: General Secretary, Palestinian Democratic Union Party " Fida".
  • Issa Qaraqe: PLC Member, Bethlehem.
  • Fouad Kokali: PLC Member. Bethlehem
  • Mohammad Lahham: PLC Member. Bethlehem
  • Dr Ahmad Majdalni: PLO Central Council Member, Member of Politburo of Palestinian People Struggle Front.
  • Khaled Mansour: Member of Politburo, Palestinian People's Party.
  • Dr Salim Tamari: Institute of Jerusalem Studies.
  • Dr. Nasri Abu Jesh: Secretary of Palestinian Dentists union. Nablus, Member Of People's Party Central Committee.
  • Rima Tarazi: General Union of Palestinian Women. Ramnallah.
  • Nuha Barghouti:General Union of Palestinian Women. Ramallah.
  • Dima Awaidah Nashashibi: Deputy Director of WCLAC
  • Palestinian People's Struggle Front.
  • Samih Khalil: G. Director of Al-Sharq Insurance Co. Ramallah.
  • Tayseer Aroury: Lecturer, Bir Zeit University
  • Dr. Samir Khalil: Pediatrician. Ramallah.
  • Dr. Anwar Dudin: Dean of Medical School, Alquds University.
  • Dr. Lily Feidy: Secretary General, MIFTAH.
  • Amal Nashashibi: Human Resources Development Consultant, Jerusalem.
  • Dr. Nasri Kumsieh: Physician , Beit Sahour.
  • Suliman Abu Dayyeh: Jerusalem.
  • Dr. Spiro Tams: Jerusalem
  • Dr. Mohammad Jadallah.: Head of Jerusalem Branch of Palestinian Doctors Union.
  • Ghassan F. Abdullah: IT Consultant, Ramallah. "Palestine"
  • Shawqi Issa : G. Director of Ensan Center. Bethlehem
  • Khalil Rashmawi: Beit Sahour.
  • Mohamad Manasra: G. Director, Hares Researches and Media, Bethlehem.
  • Munther Dakkak: IT Consultant, Data Set. Jerusalem.
  • Mousa Qous: Media and Information Programme, MIFTAH.
  • Ghada Zughair: Assistant to the General Director for External Relations PARC- Beit Hanina.
  • Rami Bathish: Media and Information Programme, MIFTAH
  • Naser Lahham: Editor of Maan News Agency. Bethlehem
  • Raed Othman: Director of Maan Independent News Network. Bethlehem.
  • Awni Abu Ghoshe: Palestinian National Council Member. Jerusalem
  • Fadel Taqhboub: Palestinian National Council Member. Jerusalem
  • Khaled Azzeh: Palestinian National Council Member. Bethlehem.
  • Rana Nashashibi : JERUSALEM.
  • Palestinian Economists Society. Palestine
  • Fahmi Shaheen: Human Rights Activist. Hebron.
  • Mrs. Amal Ju'beh: Woman Leader, Hebron.
  • Yunis Tayyem. Trade unionist, People's Party Central Committee member Hebron.
  • Hasib Nashashibi: Ensan Center for Democracy and Human Rights. Jerusalem.
  • Dr. Taleb Awad: Ramallah.
  • Jamal Zakout: Palestinian National Council (PNC).
  • Ashraf Ajrami: Journalist/writer.
  • Hani Habib: Journalist/writer.

For further information please contact:
Hasib Nashashibi, Ensan Center for Democracy & Human Rights
Telefax: +972-2-2766842
ensan@ensancenter.org
www.ensancenter.org
Rami Bathish, MIFTAH
Tel: +972-2-5851842
mip@miftah.org

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