Statement of the Palestine Study Group
We are a secular group that includes Christians, Muslims and Jews who wish to see a Middle East where Palestinians and Israeli Jews can live in peace and freedom. We take no position on what form this will take, whether two states or one state. We do call for the end of the occupation of the land conquered by Israel in 1967: the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. We do call for equal rights in Israel. We also call for acknowledging the right of Palestinians to return to the homes and villages they lived in before the expulsions of 1947-49.
This is not a call to expel Israelis who have moved into the homes of the 750,000 Palestinians that were expelled, or to destroy what has been built over the remains of those 500 villages. But we do call for recognizing that this remains an injustice under the internationally recognized right of return of refugees. We believe that a compromise solution must be found that is acceptable to the Palestinians.
We advocate for the Palestinians and the Israeli movement against the occupation. We reject the idea of “balance”: The occupier is Israel and it is Israel, with the fourth largest military in the world, that can remove the settlements, remove its soldiers, and end the blockade of Gaza and the West Bank.
We reject the idea that violence can solve this conflict, the violence of those resisting occupation or the vastly greater violence of the military occupier. We support the ongoing non-violent movement of Palestinians against the separation wall and other manifestations of occupation such as checkpoints, night raids, imprisonment of juveniles, and unchecked settler violence against Palestinian villages.
We urge our government to end military aid to Israel, to stop giving tax exemptions to Americans who fund the settlements, and to stop vetoing UN resolutions that call for Israel to uphold and follow basic international law.
Israel has continued for 45 years to expand the settlements, steal the water, destroy agricultural resources like livestock and olive trees, imprison and sometimes murder Palestinian protesters and political leaders, and generally make life difficult for all but Jews in Palestine. Since Israel gets away with this with almost complete impunity, we are left with boycott, divestment and sanctions, as well as education, as the main non-violent means of exerting pressure to lift the siege on the Palestinians.