Arab-American Leaders Voice Concerns About US Mid-East Policies

Washington, DC, May 25th — At a meeting with Bush Administration National Security officials, Arab-American and American Muslim leaders raised serious concerns about Israel’s violations of international and US laws in its attempts to suppress the Palestinian uprising in the Occupied Territories. The meeting, organized by ADC and the Arab American Institute (AAI), was attended by leaders of the major Arab and Muslim American organizations, including ADC President Hala Maksoud. They told Bruce Reidel, Special Assistant to the President on Middle East Affairs, that their communities were outraged by Israel’s brutal actions against Palestinian civilians and the lack of an adequate response from Washington.
ADC President Maksoud said “we strongly communicated that the United States needs to ensure that Israel stop gobbling up Palestinian land by expanding its illegal settlements, no matter what excuses are offered. And we made it very clear that the future of peace in the Middle East depends on the United States doing everything in its power to bring the Israeli occupation, which is the cause of the conflict, to a quick and complete end as demanded by international law.”
The group:

  • Objected to the spin that Secretary of State Powell put on the Mitchell Commission Report, downplaying the recommendation that all Israeli settlement activity be frozen as a key part of any plan to stop the conflict;
  • Demanded that the Administration not tolerate any growth, “natural” or otherwise, to Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, and that Administration officials describe Israeli settlements in accurate terms which recognize their illegality under international law;
  • Protested Israel’s illegal use of US supplied arms, pointed out that, while the Administration has said for some months that it is “investigating the issue,” there is no doubt that Israel has been using US-supplied arms such as Apache helicopters and F-16 jets in violation of the Arms Control Export Act, and demanded that the US suspend aid to Israel;
  • Pointed out that Administration officials often create a false equivalence between Israeli troops enforcing an illegal occupation and Palestinians struggling to be free, and insisted that there is no moral similarity between violent acts in furtherance of liberation from the domination of a hostile foreign army and violence by a state designed to control and oppress millions of people outside its internationally recognized borders.
  • Urged the Administration to oppose all efforts in Congress to cut aid to Lebanon;
  • Strongly Advocated the immediate lifting of sanctions against Iraq
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