Granny Peace Brigade letter of September 9, 2016, to Senator Charles E. Schumer, regarding U.S. position on Israeli/Palestinian conflict matters
September 9, 2016
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3203
Dear Senator Schumer,
On behalf of the Granny Peace Brigade, thank you for your letter of July 6 in response to our letter of 6 June. However, we find the issues presented in our letter were not fully addressed.
In this regard, requesting your consideration and views we again express our concern with the generally unaddressed unfortunate circumstance of the Palestinians during the ongoing 49 year conflict — a conflict clearly rooted in Palestinian reaction to loss and occupation of large areas of their ancestral homeland, once shared with others. We realize that in 1973 Security Council recommendations were set out aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East. Specific concerns —
— Socially, economically, culturally disruptive settlements have been provided by the Government of Israel for Jewish Israeli nationals, and the process of settlement expansion by Israel in occupied land continues, clearly against international law; US aid continues in spite of this.
— US continues to provide military and other financial support to Israel in spite of the numerous human rights abuses by the IDF. (Refer – the Leahy Amendment, which we understand applies to all countries, including our allies, should they be abusers of human rights)
— Israel arms industry, the 6 largest in the world exporting armaments to over 100 countries, obviously does not require the US$billions that we continue to provide. These US$ are certainly at the expense of US domestic spending, much needed to re-build our own country, its water systems, schools, other infrastructure. Is it not time to begin to wean Israel off our handouts and allow it to manage on its own something it does very well? (The Israeli Human Development Index is among the highest and improves; USA HDI is on the decline.) US consideration should also be given to a “Marshall Plan” for the Palestinian territories, the US having supported partition of Palestine.
Senator Schumer, we feel that these issues require a further response from you as we believe these are among issues which affect the future of a just and peaceful resolution of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Recent report, especially the continued expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied land, does not bode well for a two-state solution. International law is applicable here and does not infringe upon the right of Israel to defend its own national borders. Indeed we are aware of and are in agreement with the need for security within Israel [realizing the UN Partition Plan for Palestine provided for a Jewish state, as well as for an Arab state], which we understand excludes land occupied by military action.
The Granny Peace Brigade is an informal group of senior citizens, dedicated to social and economic justice. Our average age is 78! Two members of our Palestine Committee, Lillian Pollak, aged 101, and Carol Huston, aged 85, recently passed away. They were among those hoping to meet with you on these issues. We hope that this meeting will take place before more of us pass.
Therefore, as we have written on earlier occasions and requested of your staff in meetings, we appreciate an opportunity to discuss these and related matters with you directly, in NYC when you are available or in Washington, DC , at your convenience.
– Marty Rajandran and Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade