NO to Arab Participation in Israel's Municipal Elections in Jerusalem! NO to the Municipality of Occupation and Ethnic Cleansing! YES to the Struggle for a Free Palestinian Jerusalem!
We as independent Palestinian institutions who - for years - have worked to assist the Palestinian people of Jerusalem in protecting their rights as native inhabitants of the city, categorically reject the current efforts to legitimize the candidacy of an Arab list to the Israeli municipal elections on 11 November 1998. The principles of our rejection are based on international law and standards (e.g. UN Resolution 242 and 253, Fourth Geneva Convention/Articles 47 and 49) which declare the Israeli annexation of 1967 occupied East Jerusalem and all its subsequent legal and institutional changes in the city as illegitimate and illegal. The candidacy of and the support for the "Arab List" violates all international law and norms, and seriously undermines the prospects for a successful struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate their capital Jerusalem. Neither the fact that the Arab candidates are Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, nor their rallying around the well known issues of discrimination and human rights violations in the city does not change the fact that the decision to run for the Israeli municipal elections is a decision to recognize the status quo of occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem.
Moreover, we are deeply puzzled and concerned by this candidacy which comes in a period of a concerted and explicit Israeli effort to take permanent control of the occupied city. In a period of unprecedented Israeli violations against the basic human rights of its Palestinian inhabitants, and in a period of total deadlock in the political negotiations, this initiative is both untimely and destructive. What does the "Arab List" think to achieve as a small minority in a municipality run by the Olmerts and Suissas of the Likud or their counterparts in the Labor Party? It is this municipality which, in conjunction with Israeli governments, has designed and implemented a policy which resulted in the annexation, closure, and judaization of Jerusalem. It is the municipality which, between 1994-7 has destroyed 96 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, expropriated 20,000 dunums of Palestinian land in Jerusalem in 1997 alone, and has confiscated identity cards from its Palestinian inhabitants at a rate of 2-3 ID cards daily since 1996.
The question of Jerusalem is a political question and not a question of civil rights under occupation!
Therefore, the Lobby for Human Rights in Jerusalem calls upon:
- the Palestinian community to abstain from participation in the propaganda events of all lists, including the "Arab List", and from voting in the Israeli municipal elections in Jerusalem;
- Palestinian NGOs and institutions to abstain from all direct and indirect cooperation (by providing facilities and information) with the "Arab List";
- the Palestinian leadership to take responsibility for preventing this candidacy and for raising awareness among the Palestinian public of the dangers involved in this enterprise;
- the international community to abstain from all support or cooperation with the "Arab List" and to reconfirm international standards and law for the sake of Palestinian rights in Jerusalem.
A VOTE IN THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS IS A VOTE AGAINST PALESTINE AND ITS CAPITAL JERUSALEM! No to the legitimization of the Israeli Occupation in Jerusalem! Yes to Jerusalem, the free capital of Palestine!
The Lobby for Human Rights in Jerusalem:
Adameer, Al Haq, BADIL Resource Center, Citizen's Rights Center/Arab Thought Forum, Freedom's Defense Center, Jerusalem Center for Women, Palestine Human Rights Information Center, Women's Affairs Technical Committee, Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling.