Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
August 5, 2009 - 12:00am

Hannoun FamilyWashington DC, August 5 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today welcomed the firm stance taken by the Obama administration against Israel's eviction of 58 Palestinians from homes in East Jerusalem in which they have been living for many decades. The homes were immediately occupied by Israeli settlers. Israel argues that the homes had been Jewish-owned before 1948, and that the Palestinian families had "violated the terms of their leases."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the evictions as "deeply regrettable," and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who was summoned to receive Washington's official protest of the act, that the evictions were "provocative" and "unacceptable," and violate Israel's obligations under the Roadmap. ATFP said it agreed with the leading Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that, "The government must immediately return the Palestinian residents to their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and cancel the eviction orders that have been issued against additional houses. And the neighborhood's fate must be determined via diplomatic negotiations."

ATFP President Ziad J. Asali said, "We are gratified that our government has taken a strong stance against these unjustifiable evictions, and we strongly agree with Secretary Clinton and Assistant Secretary Feltman that they were indeed regrettable, provocative and unacceptable. We urge the Obama administration to continue to try to ensure that Israel avoids further provocative measures, especially in Jerusalem. We also urge the Israeli government to recognize the significant damage to the credibility and viability of peace negotiations caused by actions that prejudice the outcome on Jerusalem. Building conditions for an end of conflict agreement requires that all parties focus on their broader, long-term interests and refrain from actions and statements that undermine the prospects for peace. We strongly feel that Israel should not take or allow actions in Jerusalem that are bound to complicate building the conditions for a viable, permanent peace agreement."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017