The following letter was drafted by Madison Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to Representative Pocan.
Dear Representative Pocan,
We are writing to you on behalf of the Madison Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society
of Friends (the Madison Quakers). We are the local committee that works with the
American Friends Service Committee to promote peace with justice. The belief of the
worth of every person is one of the basic principles of the Friends.
We ask that you submit a request to the State Department for a formal inquiry as to the
legality of the forced demolitions in Firing Zone 918.
We believe the Israeli establishment of Firing Zone 918 on a piece of land where 1000
Palestinians currently live is immoral, and we believe it is illegal under international law.
The forced removal of people from their homes and livelihoods in order to create a live
ammunition military training space is in violation of the Friends’ core principle of
We understand the Palestinians’ removal would be in violation international law. The
Geneva Conventions protect persons (such as the inhabitants of an occupied territory)
from forced evacuations unless it is for the purpose of protecting the residents or it is for
imperative military reasons. Claiming that the terrain is particularly suitable for speciﬁc
live-ﬁre training does not reach that threshold. The forced removal of these Palestinians
would also be a violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, Comment 7, to which Israel is a signatory. Comment 7 deﬁnes the right
to adequate housing and prohibits forced evictions when it states, “the permanent or
temporary removal against their will of individuals, families and/or communities from the
homes and/or land which they occupy, without the provision of and access to,
appropriate forms of legal and other protection.”
Our United States government spends eight million dollars every day to support Israel.
We would like that aid to be tied to the requirement that Israel act in accordance with
international law in Firing Zone 918. For that reason, we respectfully request that you
ask the State Department about the legality of the Israeli orders for forced evacuations
of Palestinians in Firing Zone 918.
We respect the values upon which you were elected, and we appreciate the relationship
we have with you and your staff.
We look forward to your response to this letter.
(signature and address)