We are attaching herewith the text of the letter sent by
Mr. Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR, to Ms. Jessica Montell, Executive Director
of B’Tselem. 

 

The letter condemns B’Tselem’s contribution to sponsoring a
fundraising event in New York,
in which Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli Prime Minister during the offensive on
the Gaza Strip in winter 2008-2009 (Operation Cast Lead), will
participate.  Olmert is responsible for
systematic war crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian
civilians. 

 

19 March 2012

 

Dear Jessica,

I am writing to express my extreme shock and disappointment regarding
B’Tselem’s announcement as a ‘proud sponsor’ of an event in the US with Ehud
Olmert.

As you are aware, Olmert is accused of numerous international crimes for his
role in the planning and execution of Operation Cast Lead. These crimes are
among the most serious known to the international community (to the extent that
they give rise to the universality
principle), and have caused horrific death, injury, and suffering here in the
Gaza Strip.  Indeed, an arrest warrant has previously been issued for a
member of his cabinet in relation to events in which Olmert is also implicated.

The quest for accountability in the context of Cast Lead has received significant
international attention, and Olmert is intimately associated with these issues,
not just amongst the legal community, but amongst the population at large. For
a human rights organization to proudly co-sponsor this event sends an incredibly
devastating message, not only to the victims in Gaza but regarding the rule of international
law more generally.

I write this letter with a heavy heart. Our relationship with our Israeli
counterparts is hugely important to us. These relationships are built on years
of professional and personal cooperation and friendship, and have achieved some
significant results. With the closure, you are our last links to Israeli
society, and this is a relationship we wish only to nurture and further
develop.

But we must also stand on principle. As an organisation we get our mandate from
the law, and the victims we represent. I strongly urge you to reconsider this
event. The message B’Tselem is sending out is incredibly damaging.

Yours,

Raji Sourani