Welcome to Vermonters for a Just Peace
Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel works to support the survival of the Palestinian people and to end the illegal, immoral, and brutal Israeli occupation through education, advocacy, and action. We are committed to the principles of self-determination for the Palestinian people, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and full civil and political rights for all Palestinians in order to promote the equality and safety of both Palestinians and Israelis. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
What We Do
Why we oppose the Israeli occupation of Palestine
Occupation means that troops from a hostile nation move into an area and take control, as Israel did in 1967 when it illegally occupied Palestinian lands in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. In Palestine these days it means that people may have to show their ID and explain their business to any Israeli soldier at any time. The soldier can decide to turn the Palestinian back on a whim, and open resistance can be fatal, so Palestinians must endure this humiliating and dangerous process routinely as they go about their daily business. Any protest, no matter how peaceful, is met with brutal violence.
Occupation means surveillance of all aspects of Palestinian life by every possible means, from secret police who interrogate prisoners with torture, to every kind of high tech surveillance. The secret police sow dissension wherever possible, and they systematically murder and imprison emerging Palestinian leaders. Sadly, they target peace activists who seem to be building support and making connections with Israeli peace activists.
Occupation means systematic destruction of roads, houses, orchards, workshops, and other things that people need to go on living normal lives. Israelis arbitrarily decide that a military post must go on a certain hill, that shots may have come from behind a repair shop, that a security road must be built across a Palestinian village or farm, or that someone's house blocks the line of fire from an Israeli outpost. Out come the armored bulldozers and the troops. Houses are bulldozed, orchards are uprooted, terraces broken down, wells and water distribution systems are destroyed, possessions are trashed. People who resist are beaten, gassed, imprisoned, and killed.
Occupation means terroristic rocket attacks and bombing in Israeli attempts to assassinate Palestinian leaders. These attacks usually are so ferocious that they involve the killing and wounding of many ordinary people. The Israeli government defends this barbaric practice as necessary, but one can imagine their indignation if a Palestinian assassin were to do the same to one of their leaders. The unlikeness of this happening underscores the real inequality of the struggle. The Israeli government arrogantly claims the right to dominate and bully the Palestinian people, in other words, that their might makes them right. We disagree.
What is the best way for peace to come about in Palestine/Israel?
Some Israeli politicians claim that for Israel to be secure, the Palestinians must be totally subdued and held down permanently in densely populated ghettos and reservations. Some Israeli politicians frankly admit that they want to make life so miserable for Palestinians that they will leave and become refugees somewhere else. (The present Minister of Transportation has advocated giving Palestinians free one-way tickets to the border.) The actions of the Israeli government have been consistent with both of these plans as they insist on their impossibly one-sided peace terms.
We believe that the only way peace can be reached is if Israel takes its troops out of Palestine, stops its campaign of terroristic assassinations and disruption of Palestinian life, and prepares to live with its Palestinian neighbors on terms of mutual respect.
A practical first step to achieving peace would be to have international observers in Palestine to witness the occupation. Israel vehemently opposes this, for the images of brutality, humiliation, and suffering on TV would be devastating to its image.
What can we Americans do to influence Israel's behavior?
The United States sends billions of dollars to Israel, every year. It is the largest recipient of foreign aid. We also defend Israel against the outrage of the other countries of the world in the UN, vetoing any resolutions that annoy Israel. Israel's supporters spend millions to influence public opinion, and many politicians get big contributions from Israel's lobbyists.
We Americans must let our leaders know that we want America to stop supporting Israel's failed policies.
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