On Monday, the world once again witnessed Israeli war crimes — this time in the East Jerusalem Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood of Sur Baher. Israeli construction crews, accompanied by hundreds of soldiers, demolished more than a dozen apartment buildings, destroying the homes of 100 Palestinian families. Israeli authorities claim the homes were too close to the apartheid wall and therefore a “security risk.” The real risk the homes posed was to Israel’s racist engineering of demographics in East Jerusalem, in which the state does everything they can to ensure a Jewish majority.
Progressive activists have pressured the leading 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates to oppose the human rights violations of the Isreali occupation — Bernie Sanders posed with a sign reading “Anti-occupation Jew.” Both Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg said “Yes” the occupation must end. Even Joe Biden has acknowledged that “The Occupation is a problem.” Join us in asking the 2020 presidential candidates to take the necessary next step: condemn Israel’s demolition of Sur Baher.
The Sur Baher demolitions are far from Israel’s first war crimes — executing children, journalists, and medics in Gaza; the forced displacement of other Palestinian West Bank communities — but on Wednesday the US blocked a mild UN Security Council statement expressing “grave concern” and warning that the demolition “undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for just and lasting peace.” The Security Council members then revised to draft to water it down even further, but the US rejected that as well.
The Trump administration is acting every day as an impediment to peace in Palestine/Israel — last week US envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt called Israel the victim, rather than the perpetrator, of the conflict and said there is no occupation and called the term “settlements” pejorative. We need to make sure the next inhabitant of the White House is a President for Peace and that’s why we are asking the 2020 candidates to condemn the demolition of Sur Baher for what it is, a war crime. Tell them to speak out.
The Fourth Geneva Convention is clear that the forced displacement — unlawful transfer of civilians in occupied territory — constitutes a war crime. According to the UN, over the past ten years, Israel has demolished more than 1,100 East Jerusalem buildings, displacing more than 2,000 people and impacting the lives of more than 6,000. Between January 2 and July 17 of this year alone, Israel destroyed 126 East Jerusalem buildings displacing 203 people and affecting 1,036. One resident of Sur Baher said that as soldiers were banging on his door, “Our whole lives are here. Where can we go?” Tell the 2020 candidates to speak out!
In solidarity with Sur Baher,
Ann, Ariel, Caroline, Carley, Clara, Jodie, Lily, Maya, Mark, Medea, Megan, Nancy, Paki, Ryan, Sarah, Teri, Tighe, Umama, Ursula, and Zena