President Obama: When does enough, become enough?
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
13 April 2016
Dear Mr. President,
When does enough, become enough?
Every single one of your predecessors have requested and/or demanded that Israel stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Beginning with President Lyndon Johnson who stated, “the transfer of civilians to occupied areas, whether or not in settlements which are under military control, is contrary to Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which states “The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Speaking on behalf of President Richard Nixon, Charles Yost, U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations reaffirmed the position of the United States saying that Israel was an occupying power and was governed by international law concerning its actions. President Ford’s ambassador to the United Nations William Scranton said that resettlement of the Israeli civilian population was illegal and an obstacle to any kind of resolution in Palestine.
His successor, President Carter, spelled it out even more succinctly, stating that, “We consider it to be contrary to International Law.” Invoking Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention he stated that they [settlements] are illegal and that [the convention] applied to the territories.” He called this issue an impediment to any successful conclusion of the Middle East peace process. President Reagan supported a settlement freeze by Israel, calling the building of settlements ill-advised and unnecessarily provocative, as they were in no way necessary for the security of Israel.
George H. W. Bush said that U.S. policy was firm and that there “should be no new settlements in the West Bank or in East Jerusalem.” His ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering had already made this statement previously, “Since the end of the 1967 war, the United States has regarded Israel as the occupying power in the occupied territories, which includes the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The U.S. considers Israel’s occupation to be governed by the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the 1949 Geneva Conventions concerning the protection of civilian populations under military occupation.”
President Clinton called the expansion of settlements counterproductive to a solution and would ultimately threaten the security of the Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab states and the U.S., while his successor President George W. Bush, your predecessor, went on record as saying that, “the U.S. has long opposed settlement activity and, consistent with the report of the Mitchell committee, settlement activity MUST STOP.”
That brings us to you, Mr. President. You and your administration. Israel has not given the level of disrespect that it has given to you to any of your predecessors. During the visit of Vice President Biden to Israel, in March of this year, the Israeli Civil Administration’s Head of Government Property signed a declaration according to which 2,342 dunams (580 acres) became the property of Israel. If that is not the height of disrespect, I don’t know what is. Israel has flipped you the bird, Mr. President, repeatedly. They do as they like with impunity. And for their ludicrous behavior they get rewarded?
Mr. President you have stated again and again that the settlement building activities of Israel must stop. Yet they have not stopped, indeed they have escalated at an ever alarming rate. There will come before you (the UNSC) shortly a UN Resolution put forth by the Palestinian Representative to the United Nations regarding these aforementioned settlements. I urge you to do the right thing and put a halt to the illegal settlement activities in the Occupied Territories.
This is your last term, Mr. President, you will be leaving and your legacy will have been established.You have a chance to write your final chapter decisions and base them on standing up for international law and human rights. Don’t miss this opportunity, Mr. President, do the right thing. Stand up for the Palestinian people and stop the robbery and terroristic activities of Israel. God knows the indigenous people have suffered enough.
Reverend Stephen Brackens Brinkley
San Diego, CA 92101 USA