My Turn: A Counterproductive Resolution

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On January 20, members of the NH House State-Federal Relations Committee will hold a hearing on UNHCR 7 which, if passed by the House and Senate, would “reaffirm support for the nation of Israel and the location of the Israeli Embassy”. the United States in there.

The full resolution reads: “Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, concurred by the Senate: That we reaffirm our strong support for the Jewish people and our most staunch ally in the Middle East, the Nation of Israel; recognition that the current and historic capital of Israel is in Jerusalem; and the location of the US Embassy now finally in Jerusalem where it should have been and where it should remain.

Here are some questions for the committee to think about before voting.

Would you support a country that practices apartheid against the Palestinians, according to the world’s largest human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, and, agreeably, its Israeli counterpart, B’Tselem? According to the UN definition, apartheid is a crime.

Would you be in favor of a state arresting, abusing and imprisoning children as young as 12, then forcing them to sign “confessions” without the presence of a lawyer or a parent?

Would you support a nation that allows violent “settlers” who live in illegal “settlements” on stolen Palestinian land to attack and even kill Palestinians? Under international law, these “settlements” are illegal. Some extremist Israeli “settlers” are burning olive trees, some of which are nearly 800 years old. These trees are the lifeblood of many Palestinian farmers.

Would you support a country that daily dehumanizes, degrades and demonizes Palestinian human beings who have lived under brutal military occupation for 54 years?

Would you like to support Israel, a wealthy nation that enjoys universal health care, free college tuition and has one of the strongest armies in the world, by asking New Hampshire taxpayers to send $18,373,207 per year (NH’s share of the annual $3.8 billion) in this country ?

Could this money be put to better use in New Hampshire for affordable housing, for health care, for our underfunded public schools and for the Division of Child, Youth and Family Services, so that children like Elijah Lewis and Harmony Montgomery would have been better protected from harm?

Would you support a government that arrests and imprisons (and often tortures) Palestinians without any specific charges called “administrative detention”? Israel has no constitution or habeas corpus. Thousands of Palestinians languish in Israeli jails even as some have gone on hunger strikes to express their contempt for such practices.

I think UNHCR Resolution 7 is counterproductive for Israelis and Palestinians. Some say the goal is to create a system or a situation in which Israelis and Palestinians can either live together in one state, enjoying the same rights.

Or, others say that the most viable situation is to agree to create two states with all peoples, Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Muslims and Christians, enjoying and having security, freedom and civil and human rights in within each entity.

Finally, isn’t this resolution essentially unconstitutional for New Hampshire or any other state to support a foreign country and its policies, especially when they may relate to treaties or possible wars?

In addition, committee members should be informed that, by UN agreement, Jerusalem was to be a shared international city. This status was confirmed in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 in 1948, which maintained the position that Jerusalem should become an international city, under the supervision of the United Nations. Clearly, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem violates Resolution 194.

I urge the Committee on State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs to vote against this resolution. By voting to support UNHCR 7, the committee would be complicit in supporting a nation, Israel, which deprives millions of Palestinians, Muslims and Christians, of their basic human and civil rights.

(Will Thomas is a member of NH Veterans for Peace. He lives in Auburn.)

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