Rotarian call for Peace

Rotarians Clubs in District 2452 and Rotarians everywhere have long advocated putting service above oneself in promoting human dignity and peace. The news from our district’s area has been distressing and we ask that the international community intervenes based on the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the time of this writing (May 19th), the latest flare-up cost the lives of 219 Palestinians and 10 Israelis. The destruction in the Gaza strip was particularly hard with 61 children killed by Israeli bombings. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 52,000 Palestinians were displaced and 450 buildings were destroyed in this latest attack (many of them housing dozens of families and in many cases entire families were wiped out) [1].

We recognize that this issue has a long history: since 1948, 500+ Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed and currently 7.5 million (of total 13 million) Palestinians are refugees or displaced people [2]. Yet we strongly believe that peace based on international law is doable and is critical to world peace. International resolutions and International Law support the right of Palestinians to return and to self-determination [3]. Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights plus the West Bank (including Jerusalem), and Gaza are subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding protection of civilians in armed conflict which prohibits the occupying army from annexation or relocating its population into occupied territories as well as its obligation to protect lives and livelihoods of the local population [4]. All measures such as settlements, home demolitions, building segregation walls, and removal of Palestinians from their homes and lands including in Jerusalem are illegal per international law [5].

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Human Rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and B’Tselem (Israeli human righst organization) have condemned the gross violations of basic rights by the state of Israel and described the system of apartheid that underpins it [6].  65 laws discriminate against the remaining 1.5 million native Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship [7]. Israel is also the power that rules over the lives of 5 million more Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens but subject to its military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza and they are subjected to hundreds of military orders that are discriminatory [8]. For example, the illegal Israeli restrictions on Christians and Muslims from reaching their Holy sites in Jerusalem started the latest flare-up.

Rotarians advocate for sustainable peace for both Israelis and Palestinians based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter (including self-determination), and all relevant UN Resolutions. We urge all Rotarian Clubs to engage in conversations and work together in their own countries towards sustainable peace in the Holy Land. Rotarians in District 2452 are willing and ready to provide speakers and support.

Notes
[1] See https://www.ochaopt.org/crisis and https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/more-than-52000-palestinians-displaced-gaza-un-aid-agency-2021-05-18/
[2] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics http://www.pcbs.gov.ps/  and United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) https://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/2010011791015.pdf
[3] See UNGA resolutions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_resolutions_concerning_Palestine
UNSC resolutions https://www.un.org/unispal/data-collection/security-council/
And https://unctad.org/topic/palestinian-people/The-question-of-Palestine
[4] https://www.un.org/unispal/document/applicability-of-the-geneva-convention-relative-to-the-protection-of-civilian-persons-in-time-of-war-of-12-august-1949-to-the-occupied-palestinian-territory-including-east-jerusalem-and-the-other/
[5] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2019/01/chapter-3-israeli-settlements-and-international-law/ https://news.un.org/en/story/2004/07/108912-international-court-justice-finds-israeli-barrier-palestinian-territory-illegal
[6] https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution
https://www.btselem.org/publications/fulltext/202101_this_is_apartheid
https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/
[7] The Discriminatory Laws Database – Adalah www.adalah.org/en/content/view/7771
[8] https://www.alhaq.org/publications/Al-Haq_Publications

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Signed
Rotary Club Bethlehem, Palestine
Rotary Club Jerusalem, Palestine
Rotary Club Ramallah, Palestine
Rotary Club Al-Bireh, Palestine
Rotary Club Amman, Jordan
Rotary Club Amman Ammon, Jordan
Rotary Club Amman Citadel, Jordan
Rotary Club Amman Cosmopolitan, Jordan
Rotary Club Amman Jordan River, Jordan
Rotary Club Amman Metropolitan, Jordan
Rotary Club Amman Petra, Jordan

Rotary Club Amman Philadelphia, Jordan