October 30, 2001
To Secretary of State Colin Powell
Dear Secretary Powell,
Even as the people of Bethlehem and Beit Jala mourn their freshly buried
mothers, fathers and children killed by the Israeli occupation forces in
vengeance for the targeted killing two weeks ago of Israeli cabinet
minister and ethnic cleansing booster Rehva'am Zeevi, and even as they
take stock of the massive damage done to their towns by the just departed
Israeli occupation troops, dawn broke in Palestine today only to cast
light on fresh horrors.
This morning the occupation troops not content to be idle for a moment
without actively terrorizing someone, demolished at least four Palestinian
houses in the neighborhoods Shu'afat and Beit Hanina in occupied
At least twenty more people were rendered homeless in this latest Israeli
attack on Jerusalem and its residents. Among the houses demolished was
that of Hussein Kiswani a 320-square-metre building, which he said had
cost him two years and 90,000 dollars to build.
According to human rights organizations, the occupation forces have
deliberately destroyed more than 8,000 houses in the occupied territories
since 1967 rendering tens of thousands homeless. Over the past year they
have destroyed hundreds more and damaged thousands.
Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which Israel is bound by
international law to obey, states that "Any destruction by the Occupying
Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively
to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to
social or cooperative organizations is prohibited, except where such
destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations."
As you no doubt recall, the UN Security Council voted on October 7, 2000
(Resolution 1322) to reaffirm that Israel, "the Occupying Power" is bound
by this Convention.
Mr. Secretary, since it is evident that Israel could not continue to
maintain its occupation and to carry out this aggression without massive
material and moral support from the United States, you bear some direct
responsibility for forcing Israel to stop these aggressions. The United
States should also stop blocking all efforts at the United Nations to
provide international protection in the occupied territories which the
Palestinian people so clearly need from their belligerent and unrelenting
What we do not need is merely another statement from your spokesman about
how awful, unhelpful, provocative, unacceptable, not conducive to creating
an atmosphere for the parties to....etc., the latest Israeli actions are.
What we do need is for you to attach a real price to Israel's continued
malfeasance. Since Israel clearly does not care what you say, you should
be prepared to find out if it cares what you do.