‘Siege’ of Palestinians Must End


Posted May 23, 2006      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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CAIR: Restore humanitarian aid, talk to elected representatives

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/23/2006) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the Bush administration to use Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s visit this week to the United States to address urgent issues that are harming America’s image and interests in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the current suffering caused by the Israeli and international “siege” imposed on the Palestinian people is a humanitarian disaster that will only deepen divisions and hostility in the region.

In its statement, the Washington-based group said:

“We urge President Bush to tell Mr. Olmert that the American people will not support unilateral actions such as settlement land grabs, Apartheid-style walls or denial of basic humanitarian needs that block progress toward a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Olmert should also be told that he cannot expect American taxpayers to continue financing Israel’s illegal and counterproductive actions, which impede the peace process.

“It is in our nation’s interest to recognize that the issue of Palestine is a core concern of Muslims worldwide and that our past one-sided approach to the conflict has only served to damage America’s image in the international arena.

“Decades of unbalanced foreign policies have undermined our nation’s efforts to spread democracy in the region and have called into question our own adherence to the most basic American values of freedom and justice for all.

“As a start, President Bush should lift the current siege imposed on ordinary Palestinians by the withdrawal of humanitarian aid and American officials should begin talking with the elected representatives of the Palestinian people.

“If we truly seek to promote democracy in the Muslim world, we should respect the results of elections and not starve those who exercise their democratic rights.”

Olmert will meet with President Bush today and will speak before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

SEE: Olmert to Seek Bush View on West Bank Plan (AP)