March 9, 2022
On behalf of the Palestinian American Organizations Network (PAON), representing 31 Palestinian American organizations in the United States, we are writing to beseech you to re-examine how our country treat civilian refugees who suffer as results of unnecessary wars conduct by superpowers! The lives of civilian should never be the collateral damage for governments who wants to dominate through military might. This deadly chess game must not continue to be used in 2022. We, the victims of these barbaric acts appeal to your better angel and pray that every world refugees return safely to the bosom of their homeland
As Palestinian Americans, we know so well the trauma of the Ukrainian people who are fleeing their homes for safety. Our grandparents and parents were forcefully evicted from their homes by Israel and until today, their descendants languish in refugee camps since 1948. And those who have not escaped occupied Palestine live under apartheid rules dictated to us by the state of Israel (according to six international human rights organizations).
It is apparent that the American people, when shown the suffering of civilians, they stand with the victims. We and the international community stand shoulder to shoulder in opposition of any occupation regardless of who is the occupier. Our government did not hesitate in putting resources to help the Ukrainian people. The question is how about the Palestinian refugees, why are not they being helped?
Yet, we cannot help but be perplexed, concerned and astonished by the double standard applied when our Palestinian families tried to defend their rights to live in their indigence homeland. In today’s world, we are labeled “terrorists.” As US pours money to support the Ukrainians to help in their fights, US also provides funding for the Israeli government to continue the suppression and occupation of the Palestinian people. We are concerned about this double standard. The Unite States should apply the same standard to all victims of war and occupation. We are at the helm of leading the world into boycotting and sanctioning Russia while at home we criminalize peaceful boycotts against Israel illegal occupation and illegal settlements. Our country is built on life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and not on hypocrisy.
We hope that we can take this opportunity to champion the rights of all oppressed peoples, no matter where they are in the world. Our standards should apply to all oppressed people, regardless of where they live. We must live to our ideals and be a beacon of hope and light to others. If we want to continue to be power of enlightens, we cannot continue to sidestep the Palestinian issues. Let’s heed the words and wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King: “Nobody’s free until everybody is free.”
It is time to measure human rights, and illegal occupation, with the same yard stick. Let us not be ridiculed by the rest of the world who dismiss our great ideals because of our obvious biases.
We would love to work with you in bringing peace to the world including the Ukrainians and Palestinians alike.
Mohammad Abd-Elsalam, President
CC: Members of Congress
Mr. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State
Mr. Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs