The Peace and Freedom Party strongly favors the withdrawal of all US troops from abroad, including the 50,000 still in Iraq and the additional tens of thousands stationed in the Gulf States and elsewhere in the Middle East. We believe that interference from imperialist forces from our own country has prevented peace, rather than promoted peace, in the region. Each country has its own cultural and historical background, heavily influenced by Ottoman imperialism and European colonialism. But in recent decades, military and "security" aid from the United States has propped up unpopular and corrupt regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and some other countries in the region, and heavy US financial influence in Israel has distorted that country's priorities and led its leaders to think they can keep much of the land occupied in 1967. While the US has voted in the United Nations for a few resolutions condemning the continued occupation, US government actions and the statements of US political leaders have made plain to the Israelis that as long as they act as US agents in the area, the US will in fact if not in words support even the worst excesses of the occupation.
Without the US interference, including diplomatic, military, financial, and political, it is likely that a fair peace settlement would have been reached years ago. With that interference, the Israeli government, much more aggressive, right-wing, and militaristic than it would have been without the backing of the United States, continues to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land, and engages in unacceptable mass killings of civilians with some regularity. The desperate response of Palestinians, powerless to bring a just peace, has often been to engage in attacks on civilians. The Peace and Freedom Party condemns all attacks on civilians, and urges that all parties in the Middle East work toward a just peace that will permit Israelis, Palestinians, and their neighbors to live in security and prosperity. But we recognize that this is unlikely to happen while the US government and US billionaires who call the shots in Washington continue to prevent it.
The continuing occupation promotes both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, it distorts the politics and economies of all the Middle Eastern countries and of our own country, it promotes war-making rather than peaceful endeavor, and it is a major contributor to tensions around the world.
It is the responsibility of those people in the United States who value peace, and have the best interests of Israelis and Palestinians at heart, to work to end imperialist meddling in the region. As part of building this movement for peace in the Middle East, a Divestment Initiative is being circulated in California that would keep California' state pension funds from being used to promote the continuing occupation of the territories Israel has held since 1967, and the continuing provocation of settlement-building and land theft in the occupied territories. It would keep state pension funds out of companies that participate in settlement-building and the arming of the occupation troops. And whether or not the initiative passes, this is an opportunity to express the mass sentiment against bi-partisan collusion in the prevention of peace in the Middle East. The Peace and Freedom Party State Executive Committee has carefully reviewed the wording of the initiative, and finds it to be in accordance with positions already taken by our Party, and promoted by our candidates for office. We believe that it is truly in the interests of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, all the peoples of the Middle East, and the American people as well. For peace, for an end to the occupation that prevents peace, and to loosen the hold of modern imperialism on the world, we endorse the Divestment Initiative.
The full text of the initiative is on the Secretary of State's website at ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/initiatives/pdfs/i926_initiative_10-0020.pdf.