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  • The letter was spearheaded by progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC).

    The letter was spearheaded by progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). | Photo: AFP

Published 30 June 2020
Opinion

"Members of Congress should not be expected to support an undemocratic system in which Israel would permanently rule over a Palestinian people denied self-determination or equal rights," the letter said.

At least 13 United States lawmakers addressed Tuesday a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledging to "pursue legislation that conditions" military support to Israel" if it goes ahead with its planned annexation of areas of the illegally occupied West Bank.

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'Annexation Is Illegal. Period': UN Rights Chief

"Members of Congress should not be expected to support an undemocratic system in which Israel would permanently rule over a Palestinian people denied self-determination or equal rights," the letter said.

Referring to racial justice protests following the killing of George Floyd, the statement added that "at a time when the American people are taking to the streets to demand justice for all in our own country, there is no question but that such an action would alienate many U.S. lawmakers and citizens."

The letter was spearheaded by progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and signed by Senator Bernie Sanders and House members Rashida Tlaib; Ilhan Omar; Pramila Jayapal; Andre Carson; Betty McCollum; Chuy Garcia; Danny Davis; Ayanna Pressley; Raul Grijalva; Bobby Rush; and Nydia Velazquez.

More than 20 advocacy groups endorsed it, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Arab American Institute (AAI), CodePink, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, and IfNotNow.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has planned to begin its annexation process starting Wednesday as part of a so-called "peace plan" presented in January by United States President Donald Trump.

The plan consents to Israel's annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank, including illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley. 

It grants Palestinians a disjointed and demilitarised entity with a capital on the outskirts of Jerusalem, while the disputed city would remain fully under Israeli sovereignty.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is considered occupied territory under international law, making all Jewish settlements there, as well as the planned annexation, illegal.

"Annexation is specifically prohibited because it incites armed conflict, political and economic instability, systematic human rights abuses, and, most importantly, legitimizes the erasure of identity," the letter said.

"There is no question that the acre by acre de facto annexation since 1967 for the purpose of new Israeli settlements is a blatant attempt to suppress Palestinian identity and nationhood."

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) rejected the letter even before it was officially released.

"A strong US-Israel relationship helps keep us safe, protect our troops, create American jobs, and address 21st-century challenges," the group said Monday on Twitter. "America's security assistance to Israel is an investment that serves our national interests—including promoting peace and deterring war."

Israel receives US$3.8bn in U.S. military aid per year.

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