Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

American Muslims Remain Committed to Bush, Call for End to Unconditional U.S. Support for Israel

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

American Muslims Remain Committed to Bush, Call for End to Unconditional U.S. Support for Israel

Article excerpt

American Muslims Remain Committed to Bush, Call for End to Unconditional U.S. Support for Israel

Delinda C. Hanley is the news editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

Six American Muslim leaders called on President George W. Bush to end America's unconditional support of Israel at an April 9 press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent state visit, the American Muslim Society's Souhail Ghannouchi said Sharon somehow managed to paint Israel as the victim of Palestinian aggression. He returned to Israel with what he thought was a green light for his policy of closures and political assassinations. "We ask for a foreign policy that is consistent with our American values," Ghannouchi told reporters.

Howard University's Imam Mahdi Bray read a letter to the president from the Muslim groups which read, in part:

"As a matter of our belief in justice and out of concern for America's image and interests abroad, we offer the following recommendations to U.S. policymakers:

"1. Stop U.S. military aid to Israel, ensure that Israel does not use American-made weapons to target or attack civilian populations under any circumstances, and investigate the use of weapons containing depleted uranium;

"2. Stop abusing the U.S.'s veto power in the United Nations which allows Israeli aggression to continue unhindered, tarnishes America's image and damages American interests abroad;

"3. Call on Israel to end the siege on Palestinian territories and send humanitarian relief to ease the suffering of Palestinians as a result of Israeli aggression and apartheid.

"For the past six months, American Muslims and all people of conscience have watched with outrage the ongoing Israeli siege of the Occupied Palestinian Territories...The abuse of American-made weapons, including helicopter gunships, rockets and tanks to attack civilians and to destroy Palestinian homes, towns, villages, and refugee camps is cause for particular concern on the part of American Muslims. As American citizens, we are outraged by our government's continuing unconditional support for Israeli aggression and the blocking of any United Nations Security Council resolutions aimed at curbing this aggression or providing protection to Palestinians.

"America's blind and unwavering support encourages Israel to disregard U.N. resolutions and international demands for justice. This is unacceptable, illegal and immoral. These resolutions call for the total and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied Palestinian territories. They confirm the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands. They require Israel to remove all settlements built as a result of occupation. These principles have been and must be the starting point of any serious peace negotiations.

"Until Israel meets its obligations under international law and ends its oppression of the Palestinian people, we call on our government to behave as a true honest broker and stop its unconditional support for Israeli occupation," the letter concludes.

"Muslims remain committed to their support of Bush," declared Anisa Abdul Fattal of the United Association for Studies and Research. Reminding reporters that Muslims supported the president in his election campaign, she noted that policies that seemed pro-Israeli are not specific to Bush. Bush is working in a climate in which 190 representatives and 87 senators recently sent letters asking the president to sharply reassess U. …

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