In a letter to President Bush, Eugene Bird, President of the Council for the National Interest, agreed with Jewish organizations, including Americans for Peace Now, in protesting the latest request for aid, a reported $180 million to help construct new “state of the art” checkpoints along the security wall separating Israelis and Palestinians.
“These checkpoints are not all located in Israeli territory, but are mostly located on Palestinian land illegally enclosed by the construction of the Separation Wall. We understand the security interest Israel might have in constructing a wall, as long as it follows the Green Line, which Israel agreed to withdraw to in accepting the 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242, which is still accepted as the basis of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The proposed permanent gates controlling the Palestinian population in their own land are a giant step toward annexing that land and depriving any future Palestinian state of territorial contiguity.”
“In our view,” the letter states, “supporting this project would be in direct violation of our own policies calling for a viable Palestinian state and opposing taxpayer dollars going to support the occupation. It would also be a violation of international law and of the Leahy Amendment - which prohibits the use of US aid to Israel outside Israel proper.”
Mr. Bird concluded, “The proposed upgrading and construction of gates is simply a way for Israel to gain U.S. involvement and approval for what is obviously an effort to annex occupied territory, and to make the occupation permanent. Both are against U.S. policy and both make peace less, rather than more, likely.”
The Council for the National Interest is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization advocating a new direction for U.S. Middle East policy. As CNI Founding Chairman Paul Findley notes, CNI is “motivated by the national interest of our country in Middle East policy… CNI provides a way for all citizens, regardless of religious affiliation or national origin, to speak out in an effective way. Those who participate can help advance the national interest in the Middle East and at the same time help repair the damage being done to our political institutions by the over-zealous tactics of Israel’s lobby.