“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

The results of last week’s Palestinian legislative election have led some to challenge US aid to the Palestinian people. Because we understand that US funds do not go to the Palestinian Authority but instead provide development assistance…

 

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

The results of last week’s Palestinian legislative election have led some to challenge US aid to the Palestinian people. Because we understand that US funds do not go to the Palestinian Authority but instead provide development assistance, humanitarian aid, and vital support for building democratic institutions in the West Bank and Gaza, we urge you to continue our foreign assistance program to the Palestinian people.

In his State of the Union address, President Bush said, “Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, and protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote.” If we believe in promoting democracy in the Middle East, we must remain committed to building the institutions that support a democracy – rule of law, an independent judiciary, vibrant civil society, and a free press. In fact, our aid programs do just that.

As you know, US foreign aid is disbursed to private contractors and nongovernmental organizations chosen and monitored by USAID who have signed the “Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing,” ensuring that US funds do not benefit individuals or groups identified by your department as terrorists. USAID programs strengthen Palestinian civil society, empowering moderates to affect change in their government. Withdrawal of US financial support as a punishment for the results of a democratic election it actively supported could cause a breakdown in civil society. This vacuum could lead to civil war or increased interference from regional players.

Our involvement on the Palestinian issue affects our county’s image throughout the Arab and Muslim world. USAID programs, which improve the daily lives of the Palestinian people through humanitarian aid, the empowerment of civil society, and fostering democratic institutions is a fundamental element of any successful public diplomacy strategy.

Finally, we believe that at this critical moment it is in our nation’s interest to support President Mahmoud Abbas and other moderates in Palestinian society. Abbas has reiterated his commitment to a negotiated two-state solution and, as President of the Palestinian Authority, retains veto power over any legislation that comes out of the PLC. A withdrawal of US funds could result in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, essentially creating a “failed state” in the West Bank and Gaza.

The American people can be proud of programs administered through USAID and its partners. We urge you to continue US aid to the Palestinian people.

Sincerely,

Dr. James Zogby

President

Arab American Institute

Hon. George Salem, Esq.

Chairman

Arab American Institute

 

Dr. Ziad Asali

President

American Task Force on Palestine

 

Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS

President

Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

 

Dr. Peter Gubser

President

American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA)

Hon. Theodore Kattouf

President

AMIDEAST

 

Omar Kader

Chairman of the Board

Development Associates, PAL-TECH

The Reverend Canon Richard K. Toll

Chairman of the Board

Friends of Sabeel-North America

 

Ismael Ahmed

Executive Director

Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services

Michael Mufarreh

President

American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine

 

Makboula Yasin

Executive Director

United Palestinian Appeal

Dr. Edward A. Hazbun, PhD., MBA, PE

Founder

Bethlehem Association

 

Yusif Farsakh

National Board

Birzeit Society

Linda Sobeh

National President, ex-officio

Palestinian American Congress

 

Samiah Bahhur

President

El Bireh Palestine Society

 

Linda Butler

Director

Institute for Palestine Studies, Washington Office

 

Steve Sosebee

President and CEO

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund

Salam Al-Marayati

Executive Director

Muslim Public Affairs Council

 

Ronald Goodman

Co-Chair

American Diaspora Alliance for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

 

Samuel Halaby

Co-Chair

American Diaspora Alliance for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

 

Nina Ghannam

President

Imagine-Life

Mitchell Plitnick

Director of Education and Policy

Jewish Voice for Peace

 

Neal Abid

President

Arab American Community Center

Orlando, Florida

Sally Al-Daher, MD, MPH

Executive Director

Arab Cultural and Community Center

San Francisco, California

 

Saed Moujtahed

President

Citizens for Americans Interests

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2016-10-24T07:29:53+00:00 February 20th, 2006|Categories: News|