Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) and members of Congress called on the U.S. Ambassador to Israel to condemn all acts of violence in the West Bank. During the COVID-19 pandemic, violence against Palestinians committed by residents of West Bank settlements increased significantly, following increases in settler violence against Palestinians over the last two years. The members are concerned with all violence in the West Bank and any impediments to peace.
In the letter, the members write, “As supporters of the safety and security of Israelis and Palestinians, we grieve for each family that has suffered harm or lost a loved one to this conflict. There is no doubt that such incidents, in addition to causing tragic suffering, harm the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict that is in each of Israel’s, the Palestinians’ and US interests. We believe the United States must condemn all acts of violence that pull us further away from peace and should make its condemnation clear whether the victim is Israeli or Palestinian.”
According to the United Nations and Israeli security services, the rise in physical assault, uprooting of Palestinian-owned olive trees, and stoning of vehicles driven by Palestinians can be attributed partially to school closures at settlements in the West Bank.
“Settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank is an affront to the values we aspire to uphold as Americans. It’s harmful to interests of the United States, Israel and the Palestinians and further erodes the prospects for a negotiated end to the conflict,” said Dylan Williams, J Street’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. “We applaud Reps. Haaland, Huffman and Yarmuth and their colleagues for raising awareness of this problem — and for calling on Ambassador Friedman to live up to his responsibility to condemn all forms of violence against Israelis and Palestinians.”
Also joining in signing the letter are U.S. Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02), John Yarmuth (KY-03), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Peter Welch (VT-at large), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Bobby Rush (IL-01), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Jackie Speier (CA-14), John Garamendi (CA-03), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Donald M. Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Judy Chu (CA-27), Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Mark Takano (CA-41), Gwen S. Moore (WI-04), Michael F. Q. San Nicolas (GU-At Large), Andy Levin (MI-09), David E. Price (NC-04), André Carson (IN-07), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ann McLane Kuster (MN-02), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Daniel T. Kildee (MI-05), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Lori Trahan (MA-03) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20).
Full Congressional letter is available here.