CAIR URGES U.S. ACTION ON MIDDLE EAST PEACE
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/9/07) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today used the occasion of King Abdullah II of Jordan's address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress to urge members to play a more proactive role in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is asking Congress to immediately conduct hearings on the growing humanitarian crisis among the Palestinians resulting from Israeli policies.
In his speech before Congress, King Abdullah stated: "The wellspring of regional division, the source of resentment and frustration far beyond, is the denial of justice and peace in Palestine. …I come here today, as your friend, to tell you that this is the core issue. And this core issue is not only producing severe consequences for our region, it is producing severe consequences for our world."
In a statement, CAIR said:
"It is vitally important that our elected representatives reformulate a Middle East policy based on the cherished American principles of peace and justice for all people.
"For too long the plight of the Palestinians has been ignored in the halls of Congress. For too long the discussion has been one-sided. Our lawmakers have spoken out in support of Israeli rights and national security, but appear content to leave the Palestinians with neither rights nor security. To the Muslim world, this is perceived a double standard and remains the number one source of anti-American hostility.
"A tragedy is unfolding in Palestine with 70 per cent of the population now living below the poverty line. Unemployment is nearly 40 percent and expected to rise to more than 70 percent.
"The choices that Israel makes have implications for the United States. It is time for America to use its power to influence counterproductive Israeli policies such as building illegal settlements on confiscated Palestinian land and subjecting Palestinians to Apartheid-like existence.
"Any real and lasting resolution to the Middle East conflict will also have to address Israel's brutal occupation, the Palestinian right of return and the holy status of Jerusalem for Muslims worldwide.
"We will have a positive impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict only when our policies are more closely aligned with our values of peace, freedom and justice for all people."
President Jimmy Carter recently wrote, "Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law. . . The United States is squandering. . .goodwill and intensifying global anti-Americanism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org