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Frequently Asked Questions on FCNL and Israel-Palestine

May 6, 2016


Get additional information about FCNL's position and work for a more peaceful Middle East.

Washington Newsletter Washington Newsletter: Israel-Palestine 

In the midst of a stalemate, FCNL is pressing for U.S. policy steps that could have a big impact on people's lives, improve security, and decrease the divisions that are driving violent extremism.

What is FCNL’s basic position on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

FCNL supports the right of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination and security in their own homeland. FCNL urges the United States to press for an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory and to support a two-state solution rooted in international law.

What is FCNL’s position on BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel?

FCNL does not take a position on the international movement for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel and its associated consumer and shareholder advocacy campaigns. FCNL’s mandate is to constructively influence policy change through lobbying, and we have not seen such opportunities arise through BDS-related initiatives in Congress.

Background Israel/Palestine: Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions 

FCNL’s mandate is to lobby Congress and the administration. We work specifically on federal policy to advance the world we seek. We have not focused on lobbying for BDS-related initiatives because we have not seen a national legislative opportunity to move them forward.

What is FCNL’s position on U.S. military aid to Israel? 

Respect for human rights and accountability must be a cornerstone of U.S. global engagement. FCNL calls to end unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel, which perpetuates Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Given that the U.S. funds 20% of Israel’s military budget, the U.S. has a special responsibility to hold Israel accountable for this assistance, and to ensure that restrictions like the Leahy law are uniformly applied.

Update Opening the Door to Peace in Israel-Palestine 

The hypermilitarized U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs to change. Unconditional U.S. military aid to Israel — making up 20 percent of Israel's military budget — is part of the problem.

Why is FCNL focused on the Gaza water crisis? 

The UN predicts Gaza will run out of drinking water by the end of 2016, posing a dire public health crisis within and beyond Gaza’s borders. FCNL sees an opportunity to shift the Hill narrative, and improve the lives of Palestinians and Israelis by addressing the Gaza water crisis.

Update Gaza Is About to Run Out of Water. The U.S. Can Help. 

In Gaza, home to 1.8 million people in an area about the size of Detroit, the only local source of groundwater will be completely contaminated by the end of this year.

Why do I hear more from FCNL about Israel’s occupation than Hamas violence?

 
FCNL unequivocally condemns violence by Israelis and Palestinians, including by Hamas. At the same time, FCNL’s mandate to contribute to peaceful solutions is to advance U.S. policy change. Given that Israel is the top recipient of U.S. foreign military financing, the U.S. has a particular responsibility to hold Israel accountable for the structural violence of the occupation.

I’m going to Israel-Palestine. Where do you recommend I go?

We have a list of Israeli and Palestinian groups that welcome visitors who are interested in grassroots efforts to end the occupation and advancing nonviolent solutions.

Background Where to Go in Israel and Palestine 

Delegations, Tour Groups, and Peacebuilding Organizations

Most visits to Israel/Palestine stay on the beaten path. These suggestions can help policymakers and members of the public gain a greater understanding of the conflict, and to witness first-hand the work of Israeli and Palestinian peacebuilders to bring about a just and lasting resolution to the conflict.