Below is a link in Politico to a very good overview of what President Biden’s challenges and positions are vis a vis Israel, the Palestinians, the Saudis, other regional allies, and Iran as he prepares to spend four days in the Middle East beginning with a visit to Israel on Wednesday, July 13.
Before you read it, I want to share with you a letter that will be presented to President Biden on Monday (July 11) at the White House before he leaves for Israel that is signed by many liberal and progressive pro-Israel Zionist organizations including the Union for Reform Judaism (the umbrella organization of 850 Reform synagogues in America representing 1.5 million American Reform Jews) on the potential tragedy in the Occupied West Bank at Masafer Yatta, a collection of 19 Palestinian hamlets with a population of about 1000 Palestinians. This area is located in the southern West Bank between 14 and 24 kilometers south of the city of Hebron in the southern Hebron Hills. This letter, as is stated, follows another letter by dozens of US Senators and Congressional Representatives to Secretary Anthony Blinken making the case why it is important for the Israeli government and military NOT to follow through on this risky, inhumane, potentially explosive, and unnecessary military operation that will deprive 1000 Palestinians of their homes.
Quick background to Masafer Yatta: On May 4, 2022, Israel’s High Court ruled that Masafer Yatta residents had “failed to prove” their claim of permanent residence in the area before the Israeli army declared it a “restricted military site” known as “Firing Zone 918.” The Israeli High Court judgment ended a two-decade long legal struggle, paving the way for the eviction of all 1000 Palestinians from their homes and the planned demolition of those homes. In the 1980s, the Israeli military deemed that the area is a military zone and “uninhabited.” However, Palestinians claim that they have occupied these hamlets long before Israel occupied the area after the 1967 War.
The following letter from the American pro-Israel organizations urges President Biden to ask Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid not to carry out the High Court’s order and not to demolish the homes of these 1000 Palestinians.
Here is the letter and the list of signatories – following the letter, I post the link to a very worthwhile read in Politico.
July 11, 2022
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are pro-Israel organizations writing to urge you to help prevent the forced displacement of approximately 1,000 Palestinians from their homes in the area of Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank. We ask you to raise this issue and make clear the United States’ firm opposition to such displacement in your upcoming trip to Israel.
Earlier this year, the Israeli government won its bid to have the Israeli Supreme Court greenlight the forced displacement of at least 1,000 Palestinians from their homes in several of the Masafer Yatta villages in the South Hebron Hills. This would be the largest mass eviction of Palestinian families in decades, and the demolition of homes in the area has already begun.
Dozens of US Senators and Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in May, concerned that “this relocation of Palestinian families from homes they have lived on for generations could spark violence, is in direct violation of international humanitarian law, and could further undermine efforts to reach a two-state solution.”
“As supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, we believe such evictions undermine our shared democratic values, imperil Israel’s security, and disregard Palestinian human and civil rights,” the lawmakers wrote. “We respectfully request that you immediately engage with the Israeli government to prevent these evictions and further military training exercises in the area.”
As lifelong advocates for Israel’s security and survival as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people, we echo these lawmakers’ call and believe it is vital that you firmly and unequivocally oppose these harmful displacements. We stand ready to welcome and amplify such a message delivered in your upcoming trip to Israel and the West Bank.
Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Habonim Dror North America, and Hashomer Hatzair USA, J Street, New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, Reconstructing Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, T’ruah, Union for Reform Judaism
See this link to the Political analysis: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/07/09/israel-winner-after-biden-meeting-with-saudi-crown-prince-00044789
Dennis Cambly said:
Always hoping Rabbi it will make a difference with so many well known organizations putting their name on the letter.