It is time that AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS, whether they be Jews, Christians or Muslims to meet AGAIN with President Bush and his Administration and tell him that:
1) A MASSACRE has been committed by ISRAEL in Jenin and Nablus.
2) That it is irresponsible for the President to blame Arafat for all of the violence that is occurring, while Arafat is confined to a solitary room and is incapable of acting in any way to stop the violence by Palestinian militants, especially after Israel has destroyed all Palestinian Security buildings and killed or arrested most of the Palestinian Authority's policemen.
3) Tell the President that Palestinian militancy does not exist in a vacuum, and that the Palestinian extremism we are witnessing today is the manifestation of over 35 years of oppression under Israeli occupation. For peace and stability in the region, THE OCCUPATION MUST END and ILLEGAL ISRAELI settlement must be DISMANTLED. Violence, subjugation, oppression and apartheid have all been mechanisms that have been utilized to end Palestinian violence--the only thing which has not been tried has been to end the occupation which has caused the violence. Tell President Bush that as Americans we DEMAND that aid to ISRAEL be contingent upon Israel abiding to UN Security Counsel Resolutions and the Geneva Convention.
4) Tell the President that it is illogical for a country that occupies another country to expect SECURITY. That a country that does not abide by International Law, the Geneva Conventions and all acceptable norms of international behavior cannot expect security. That while Israel continues to build facts on the ground via the expansion and creation of illegal settlements which undermine any efforts towards peace, that Israel cannot expect security. That it is illogical to demand security for the occupier, while denying it to the oppressed--no democratic or logical people think like that. That a country that deprives a nation of their leaders, kills their activists and deprives women, children and the infirm of food, water, electricity while destroying their homes and turning their infrastructure into rubble CANNOT ask for SECURITY. That a man who is being investigated in the world court for crimes against humanity while continuing to massacre a civilian population cannot ask for SECURITY. And that the road to ISRAELI SECURITY MUST BE PAVED WITH JUSTICE FOR THE PALESTINIANS.
5) Tell the President that we the people of the United States of America refuse to be accomplices in the terror being waged against the Palestinians by the Israeli war machine. We refuse to perpetrate these crimes against the Palestinians.
6) Tell the President that we refuse to be victims of the backlash that will occur because of our misguided and immoral policies towards the Palestinians.
7) Tell the President that we Americans wish to declare to the Palestinians once and for all that we stand united with all of humanity, like the masses in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America who condemn the barbarity of the Israeli occupation and the escalation in violence which is motivated by an Israeli desire to ethnically cleanse the region of its Palestinian presence.
Fr. Labib Kobti
An Arab-American Catholic Leader