We did our best. Due to your calls:
- Ten Representatives signed-on to Representative Anna Eshoo's letter to Secretary of State Kerry, including Keith Ellison (MN-5), John Conyers (MI-13), Bobby L. Rush (IL-1). James P. McGovern (MA-2), Lois Capps (CA-24), Jim McDermott (WA-7), André Carson (IN-7), Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) and Betty McCollum (MN-4). This is the first time I've ever seen a public letter from Congress to keep a Palestinian village standing.
- Many staffers are signing up to be on the line for our next Stay Human Conference Call on Wednesday, July 22nd at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern time. This one is about Town Planning in Area C - Register Now
- So far, 291 eloquent people have mapped into our I Care About Peace - Crisis Prevention Map. To join us, click Count Me In. To read their messages, just click on a red dot, then click on the Report Title.
- Over 11,000 people have signed Jewish Voice for Peace's petition to Secretary of State Kerry, click here to add your name. Amnesty International and End the Occupation are rightly still asking people to call their Senators and Representatives, because your Senators and Representatives are able to pick up the phone and call the Israeli Embassy on your behalf — and get a reply.
Did it matter? I think so. Here's what happened because we asked:
- Yesterday, July 16th the American General Consul Acting Officer Dorothy Shea personally visited Susiya Village to meet with Susiya's representative Nasser Nawaja. Also present was David Etherington an American who is staying in the village as protective presence as part of the Ecumenical Accompanyment Program in Palestine and Israel, and the Israeli Human Rights Group B'Tselem.
- The State Department's spokesperson, John Kirby, expressed concern about Susiya in the State Dept's daily press briefing, as follows.
JOHN KIRBY, US STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON:
"QUESTION: Do you have a reaction to reports that Israel may demolish part of a village called Susiya in the West Bank for expanding settlements?
MR KIRBY: I do. We’re closely following developments in the village of Susiya in the West Bank, and we strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village. Demolition of this Palestinian village or of parts of it, and evictions of Palestinians from their homes would be harmful and provocative. Such actions have an impact beyond those individuals and families who are evicted. We are concerned that the demolition of this village may worsen the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution and would set a damaging standard for displacement and land confiscation, particularly given settlement-related activity in the area. We urge Israeli authorities to work with the residents of the village to finalize a plan for the village that addresses the residents’ humanitarian needs."
Will this be enough to keep the Palestinian Village of Susiya standing? Will this be enough to recognize their right to live on the land they own? We don't know yet. But I do know the people of Susiya and the dozens of NGO's and agencies supporting them, draw energy from your actions on their behalf and your encouragement.
No matter what happens in the next few days or weeks, we'll be there for the people of Susiya and the activists that stand with them. I'll keep you posted — please, if you've not yet called Congress, take a moment to call on Monday asking them to call the Israeli Embassy on your behalf to express your concern.
To all who are now celebrating the Eid or Shabbat or even just celebrating Friday, I wish you all the best.
Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance
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