Bicameral Congressional Letter Shows Strong Opposition to Forced Displacement of Palestinian Families in Masafer Yatta

20 Senators, 63 Reps Call on Biden Administration to Take Action Ahead of June Visit

May 26, 2022

J Street welcomes an urgent new bicameral letter, signed by 20 Senators and 63 Representatives, which calls on the Biden Administration to immediately engage with the Israeli government to prevent the forced displacement of approximately 1,000 Palestinians from their homes in the occupied West Bank area of Masafer Yatta.

J Street supporters across the country were proud to advocate in support of the letter led by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), which underscores the need for strong American leadership to protect Palestinian rights and help secure Israel’s long-term future as a democracy and a national home for the Jewish people.

Following a ruling by Israel’s High Court earlier this month that paved the way for what would be the largest mass eviction of Palestinian families in decades, the demolition of homes in Masafer Yatta has already begun. The Members of Congress warn that “this relocation of Palestinian families from homes they have lived on for generations could spark violence, is in direct violation of international humanitarian law, and could further undermine efforts to reach a two-state solution.”

“As supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, we believe such evictions undermine our shared democratic values, imperil Israel’s security, and disregard Palestinian human and civil rights,” the signers write. “We respectfully request that you immediately engage with the Israeli government to prevent these evictions and further military training exercises in the area…With President Biden visiting Israel in late June, it is critical that the Administration respond quickly to ensure that this momentous trip can deliver concrete steps toward peace.”

“With this letter, Members of Congress are making clear to the administration that the deteriorating situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory requires urgent attention – and that deeply harmful acts of displacement and de facto annexation must be confronted,” said J Street’s Director of Government Affairs, Hannah Morris. “As the President prepares to travel to the region in June, lawmakers are strongly encouraging him to defend the rights and long-term interests of both Palestinians and Israelis.”

The full text of the letter and its signers can be found here.