To: President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate
U.S. Support for Israel Must Stop at the Green Line
It is time for the U.S. to act like a real friend to Israel, rather than an enabler of Israel's own worst behaviors.
Today, an increasing number of governments around the world – including the EU and member states that are strong supporters of Israel – are finally adopting policies of refusing to support settlements, occupation, and the de facto annexation of territory occupied in 1967 by Israel. The U.S. should do the same.
It is time for the U.S. to draw a line in its relationship with Israel – at “the Green Line” separating sovereign Israel and the territories it acquired in 1967. U.S. support and cooperation on the full range of issues not directly related to security – including economic, social, cultural, scientific cooperation and agreements, as well as U.S. positions in international forums – should apply only to sovereign Israel, not to its actions and presence in the occupied territories.
After 47+ years of consequences-free pro-occupation policies, and two decades of failed US-led diplomacy, such a policy shift may be the only thing left that can convince Israel and its leaders to change course.
Why is this important?
Today, Israel is led by the most pro-settlement, pro-occupation government since 1967. Israel’s leaders openly prioritize land over peace, settlements over security, hegemony over healthy democracy, and Greater Israel over a greater position for Israel in the community of nations.
Israel’s government has a right to defend its citizens, but it does not have a right to compel them to pay the price of a perpetual occupation, neither does it have the right to keep millions of Palestinians under military rule.
Ending the occupation is a national security interest of the United States, of its international allies, and – first and foremost – of the people of Israel and friends of Israel worldwide. If Israel is to exist in the future as a Jewish state and a democracy, it must rid itself of the occupation.
Successive Israeli governments have for years talked about wanting peace, but their policies of deepening and expanding Israel's hold on lands occupied in 1967 tell a very different story.
If the Obama administration is serious about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is time for it to apply constructive pressure that would prompt Israel, in concrete ways, to roll back settlements and end the occupation – or get out of the way as others take the lead. After 47+ years of consequences-free pro-occupation policies, and two decades of failed US-led diplomacy, this pressure may be the only thing left that can convince Israel and its leaders to change course.