BETHLEHEM, Palestine, Mar 2 – As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech at the US Congress nears, a pro-Palestine group has launched a new campaign across Washington DC, criticising Netanyahu’s actions and urging the US to end aid to Israel.
The campaign will run ads on buses across Washington DC during Netanyahu’s visit.
A Palestinian-American, who helps coordinate boycott Israel campaigns, Senan Shaqdeh, told the Palestine Liberation Organisation diaspora department that, the controversy around Netanyahu’s congress speech on US media “created an opportunity to educate average Americans about the crimes and violations of human rights Israel commits everyday, using US taxpayers’ money.”
An American pro-Palestine activist, Jackie, highlighted, according to the PLO diaspora department, that, the ongoing Gaza blockade and the ban on entry of construction material for reconstruction is “unfortunately supported and covered up by the United States.”
The campaign was officially launched last Tuesday by American Muslims for Palestine. The group said in a statement that, the campaign aims to use the Netanyahu’s “contentious address” to congress, on the Iranian nuclear programme, to bring to focus the “detrimental impact” of US support of Israel.
The ads will make use of quotes from a speech Netanyahu made in 2001, before settlers living in illegal West Bank settlements, in which he reportedly described the United States of America as “a thing you can move very easily.” Netanyahu was apparently unaware that his statements were being filmed.
In the recording, Netanyahu emphasises that, he managed to “terminate the Oslo accords” and convince Washington to agree that Israel would not pull back from any areas he deemed as militarily strategic sites in the West Bank.
Netanyahu, who is scheduled to deliver the speech on Tuesday (tomorrow), is expected to speak against the deal unfolding with Iran, over its nuclear programme.
After receiving an invitation from Republican House speaker, John Boehner, who reached Netanyahu without consent from the White House, his decision to address the Congress has received criticism from former Israeli security officials and added strain to Netayahu’s relationship with Obama and other officials in Washington.