U.S. Coalition Says Palestinians Unfairly Pressured to Remain at Table

For Immediate Release

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Contact: 

Joshua Hough, Communications Director, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, 202-332-0994 (office) media@endtheoccupation.org

U.S. Coalition Says Palestinians Unfairly Pressured to Remain at Table

WASHINGTON - The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation today criticized the Obama Administration for pressuring the Palestinians to remain at the negotiating table despite Israel's open refusal to end its illegal settlement activities.

"Israel's settlements are illegal under international law," said Executive Director Rob Mosrie. "It makes no sense to force Palestinians to continue to sit down with Israel to negotiate a supposed two-state solution to the conflict while Israel continues to colonize and ethnically cleanse the very territories that are ostensibly designated for a future Palestinian state."

According to Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, the administration is "making clear to the Palestinians that we do not believe that it is in their interest to walk out of the talks."

"The Obama Administration is wrongly arm-twisting the Palestinians to remain at the negotiating table while Israel consumes more Palestinian land," said National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner.

Experts Available

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation offers the following analysts for interviews about the expiration of the settlement freeze and the broader context of the U.S.-led peace process:

Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director: 202-332-0994 (office), 202-423-7666 (cell),congress@endtheoccupation.org

In an op-ed in Friday's edition of USA Today, entitled "On Israeli 'moratorium,' U.S. has taken sides," Ruebner writes: "This policy of 'Annexation First, Mini-Statehood Maybe Later,' is not only grossly unfair to Palestinians, but runs counter to established U.S. policy on settlements and international law as well." Read his full article at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2010-09-23-ruebner24_ST_N.htm

Khalila Sabra, Steering Committee Member: 919-345-8105 (cell), khalilahsabra@yahoo.com

Sabra directs the Muslim American Society's Immigrant Justice and Legal Clinic, with prior professional posts in Afghanistan and Lebanon. She recently returned from a trip to the region. According to Sabra: "Today, Palestinians remain in the position of supplicants to Israel. It's so similar to what African Americans experienced prior to Civil Rights. Palestinians are not optimistic. Until both sides agree that they must adopt democratic values and laws there is no real basis for negotiations."

Joshua Hough, Director of Communications: 541-760-8047 (cell), 202-332-0994 (office),media@endtheoccupation.org

Hough previously worked in the West Bank, documenting Israeli settler activity in remote, rural, unauthorized outposts, and their effect on Palestinian children.  Hough said:  "By admonishing Abbas to stick with the negotiations at the same moment when Israel accelerates its confiscation of land for a future Palestinian state, the Obama Administration is ineptly foreclosing on the diplomatic breakthrough that it desires."

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The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a national coalition of more than 325 organizations working to end U.S. support for Israel's illegal 43-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, and to change U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and equality.

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