Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
September 30, 2001
KING COUNTY, WA DEMOCRATS CONSIDER RESOLUTIONS ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE
Democrats of King County, Washington’s 34th Legislative District, passed on May 9 a “Resolution for Support of Fair Treatment of Palestinians and Israelis.” The resolution urged all Washington State congressional representatives “not to sign the letter of the House International Relations Committee or the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee blaming the Palestinians for the past six months’ violence and to make a plea for the fair treatment of Palestinians and Israelis.”
According to the resolution, the letters are blatantly “anti-Palestinian” and promote a one-sided view supporting the interests of Israel’s “security concerns.”
Written and submitted by Precinct Committee Officer Anne Eudoxie Francisse, who serves on the King County Affirmative Action and Legislative Action Committees, the Fair Treatment resolution passed on the district level by a vote of 16 to 8 but failed on the county level. The district forwarded it to Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Francisse said.
One “Whereas” clause in the resolution, she pointed out, set an historic precedent with language denouncing the U.S. double standard, and affirming the Palestinians’ basic and inherent right of self-defense.
Francisse also wrote and submitted the “Resolution to Establish an International War Criminal Tribunal for Israel,” which did not make it out of committee and has been referred to federal authorities for consideration. That document contains 18 “Whereas” clauses supporting the “moral and civil duty for U.S. citizens and U.S. taxpayers” to recognize Palestinian human rights, and the “establishment of an International War Criminal Tribunal for Israel.” Francisse said she hopes Senators Murray and Cantwell will accept the language as is and “take any proactive decision.”
Francisse explained that the inspiration to initiate a county-level resolution condemning Israel started with the open letter from eight national Muslim organizations to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging him to recommend to the Security Council the establishment of a war crimes tribunal for Israel. The eight sponsoring groups were the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ), and Muslim Students’ Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA).
The open letter to Annan, which appeared in a full-page advertisement in The Washington Times, cited Security Council Resolutions 1166  and 955  dealing with “war crimes against humanity” in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda, comparing those to “the brutal nature of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.” The letter lists massacres committed against Palestinians since 1948 and points to Israel’s intransigence in continuing to violate international law.
Francisse also credits statements by Judge Richard Goldstone, former chief prosecutor for the U.N. criminal tribunals for both the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, who has suggested that Ariel Sharon “should be tried for war crimes in connection with the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians in Lebanon.”
[Legal proceedings formally opened June 18 in Belgium against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for crimes against humanity stemming from his role in the 1982 massacre that killed 800 inhabitants of Lebanon’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. The plaintiffs are 28 Palestinian survivors of the massacre. ]
Francisse, who emigrated from Belgium in 1963 and converted to Islam in 1981, explained that the U.S. veto on behalf of Israel of more than 60 U.N. resolutions constitutes a double standard with regard to the occupied Palestinian population.
While Francisse awaits the final outcome of both referred resolutions, she has submitted a third resolution. The “Resolution to Support the Passage of HR 1266, the Secret Evidence Repeal Act of 2001” condemns the use by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) of the secret evidence section of the Anti-Terrorism Law of 1966 as a violation of the Fifth Amendment, citing its use primarily in cases involving Arab and Muslim detainees.
The movement to repeal the use of secret evidence argues that the practice targets immigrants, Muslims and Arabs and that the evidence often is based on rumor and innuendo. Francisse believes it is “impossible” to create a legal defense without knowing the source or nature of the charges against the defendant, and notes that detainess often spend many years in jail. This resolution, studied in Seattle during June, passed in both the 34th Legislative District and the King County Democratic Central Committee.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.