Buildings in Israeli Settlements "legal"?

Rev. Dr. A. Dale Truscott

October 3, 1997

On a recent Today show interview with Matt Lauer you were quoted saying that you discourage Israeli settlement building in occupied territory at the present time, but that such buildings are "legal." I fervently hope that you did not mean that, that you made a slip of the tongue. I fervently hope that you realize the sensitive nature of diplomatic language especially in this part of the world. A slip of the tongue can cause war and untold death and suffering. All of the United Nations statements on the Middle Eastern situation beginning with 242 and 338 and all subsequent statements DO NOT recognize any kind of Israeli sovreignty over the West Bank, Gaza, or the Golan Heights. The West Bank and Gaza are military occupied territories. The Geneva Convention speaks to the administration of such territories as well. It is my opinion shared by countless others around the world that the Israeli settlements in these occupied lands are illegal to begin with. Therefore any additional buildings built within them are equally illegal. Please be careful of what you say, and what you imply. While you and Netanyahu are negotiating over 300 additional illegal buildings in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied land, the Israelis are destroying many more than that number of Arab homes in the occupied areas and in occupied East Jerusalem. This has to be taken into consideration as part of the picture. At the same time an American Jewish business man is attempting to provide for Israeli settlement in an Arab village on the Mt. of Olives, Ras al-Amud. He justifies his actions by saying that Jews and Palestinians need to live together in Jerusalem. Nice sentiment! How many Arabs would be permitted to live in any of the neighborhoods they used to live in in West Jerusalem before 1948. What will be the result if Palestinians begin to take legal action to retrieve their lost property on the other side of town. I beg you to be more evenhanded in your development of policy toward Israel and Palestine. I beg you as a loyal Democrat, as an American citizen, and as a clergyman who served in Jerusalem as pastor to the Lutheran congregation there and who has kept close touch with the Christian situation in the Holy Land. I deeply resent $14. Million per day of American taxpayer's money being poured into a country which is clearly attempting to expand its borders illegally. I protest this use of my tax dollars when there are so many other needs both domestic and international.

Yours sincerely, Rev. Dr. A. Dale Truscott

443 Sumark Way

Ann Arbor, MI 48103