Friday, July 21, 2006

Letter to Bolton, US Ambassador at the UN

The Schevitzes are friends, and like many Jewish people around the world they voice their concern about Israeli policies in the Middle East:
Dear Ambassador Bolton,

As parents of a son living in Jerusalem and working at Yad Vashem, we want to express our parental, moral and political concern over the escalating crisis between Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine and urge you to support a Security Council resolution calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.

We are gravely concerned about the loss of life on all sides. We condemn all attacks on civilians, and call for the release of political prisoners and POWs held on all sides in this conflict.
Hezbollah's crossing of the Israeli border to capture two soldiers may have violated the 1949 Armistice between Israel and Lebanon. But it is important to note that in the triggering incident, Hezbollah captured soldiers, not civilians. In addition, as the New York Times recognized on July 19, Hezbollah did not fire rockets into Israeli cities until after the Israeli army began bombing civilian areas of Lebanon. The Israeli government could have chosen to engage in serious negotiations for a prisoner exchange, as they have so many times before. As recently as 2004, in a German-orchestrated swap, Hezbollah exchanged a kidnapped Israeli civilian and the remains of several Israeli soldiers killed in combat in Lebanon, for over 400 Palestinian, Lebanese, and other Arab prisoners.

Instead, the Israeli government chose to escalate what would have remained one of many common border skirmishes into a war. They have been deliberately shelling civilian areas and civilian infrastructure in both Lebanon and Gaza. Israel's attacks were and are clearly disproportionate in their use of force. They constitute acts of collective punishment against the Lebanese and Palestinian populations -- extremely serious violations of international law.

It appears that by totally crippling the Lebanese society and demonstrating that the legitimate government is powerless that Israel is setting the stage for a coup that would put into place an Israeli-controlled government. We understand this from a "Realpolitik" point of view.

Nevertheless, the world is crying out for global intervention to stop the bloodshed. We want to see the U.S. rally the international community to stop further bloodshed instead of hampering UN efforts to call for an immediate ceasefire.

We urgently call on the Bush administration to work with international partners to broker an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and commence negotiations to peacefully resolve all aspects of the crisis, with the goal being a comprehensive just and lasting peace in the region based on the implementation of international law.

We look forward to hearing your response.

Dr. Jeffrey Schevitz
Beatrice Altman-Schevitz
Family Therapists
Höhenstr. 13
D-87629 Füssen (Hopfen am See)


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