Saving GazaApril 8, 2011
Israel is again inflicting death and destruction using U.S.-supplied weapons against Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip, demonstrating the dramatic imbalance of power in this conflict. According to press reports, in just 24 hours, Israel has killed 13 Palestinians in Gaza and injured dozens; in Israel two people have been injured.
Israel appears to be deliberately escalating this pattern of strikes and counter-strikes, which began on March 16, when an unprovoked air strike by Israel killed two Hamas militants and injured another – at the same time as Israel further tightened the siege on Gaza by closing the Karni crossing, the main entry point for goods into Gaza. From March 16-30, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Israel killed 15 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including four children. See this timeline by the Alternative Information Center here.
Until Israel’s March 16 attack, an informal ceasefire had been in place since Israel's devastating Cast Lead assault ended in 2009. Even the Israeli daily Ha’aretz wrote on March 24: “Despite the escalation, Hamas does not seem to want large-scale clashes yet. The organization actually has good reasons to believe that Israel is the one heating up the southern front.”
So what can we do?
1. Stay informed. This escalation may or may not be a prelude to a massive Israeli attack on Gaza. We should all be monitoring the situation as it develops. The Institute for Middle East Understanding already posted an interview from Gaza recorded last night on its website (www.imeu.net) and will be providing timely news updates and other resources. Check out other resources like www.electronicintifada.net (see especially Ali Abunimah’s Another War on Gaza?) and The Palestine Center.
2. Challenge the Discourse.
In the United States the clashes again are being framed in terms of
Israel’s security, no matter what the cost in Palestinian lives and
injuries. But only a ceasefire, along with an end to Israel’s illegal
siege and occupation of Gaza, can bring security for all – and a ceasefire was in place until Israel broke it.
Another point to make: It is no coincidence that Israel is escalating its actions against Gaza after Justice Richard Goldstone’s “rethink” of one aspect of the UN report. But let’s be clear: Goldstone did not retract the report's findings. Nor does he have the authority to do so: This is the report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict that grouped four distinguished experts and is now the property of the UN.
3. Demand the lifting of the siege on Gaza: The collective punishment imposed on Gaza violates international humanitarian law. The United States should end its military aid to Israel because of its many violations of Palestinian human rights and U.S. laws. Get involved in our campaign to challenge military aid to Israel.
Together, we can end U.S. support of Israel's violations of human rights and uphold international law.
Nadia Hijab, US Campaign Advisory Board
Josh Ruebner, US Campaign National Advocacy Director
Omar Barghouti is a Palestinian human rights activist, former resident of Egypt, and author of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS): The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights. He published the following letter on March 23, 2011.
I wish you Egypt!
The Jerusalem Fund, a US Campaign member group
the past week alone, the Israeli government has taken several steps to
further target the Palestinian minority in Israel. You can read more
about discriminatory legislation that bans the commemoration of the
Nakba, allows communities to forbid Arabs from living among them and
targets political activists here. Also, new polling indicates that the
Israeli polity is moving only further to the right, which means
Palestinian citizens of Israel will be increasingly under pressure.
Jafar Farah is director of the
Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, and
serves on the Public Council for the Governmental Equal Opportunities
By Josh Ruebner, US Campaign National Advocacy Director
you just love these names the Pentagon invents for its military
operations? From the makers of Operation Odyssey Dawn, coming in May
2012, it’s Austere Challenge!
ICAHD-USA, a US Campaign member group
Where: Anata, East Jerusalem
International Solidarity Movement
ISM Gaza was reinstated in August 2008, when volunteers traveled aboard the historic, siege-breaking voyage of the first Free Gaza Movement boat. ISM has maintained a constant presence in Gaza since that time, for over two years of Israel’s crippling siege.
ISM volunteers refused to leave when Israel began bombing Gaza in December 2009. During the devastating 23-day assault, activists accompanied ambulances and provided vital testimony to the international media.
Students and Alumni Protest Investment Policy at the Evergreen State College
By Mike Coogan, US Campaign Manager of Finance & Administration
a delegation of 12 Virginians and I had the opportunity to meet with
Rep. Eric Cantor's office. A member of our group expressed our main
concern. Our "ask" was that Cantor use his position of leadership to
ensure Israel respects the human rights of Palestinians and pursue a
strategy that could end the Israeli occupation. The legislative director
responded: "We don't refer to it as an 'occupation.'"
The people of the 7th District of Virginia deserve an explanation as to why our district is paying an estimated $73 million to provide weapons to the Israeli military over the next nine years. As Cantor has said, "We believe this government must stop spending money that it doesn't have." We agree.
Perhaps he should start by cutting funding for an occupation that he doesn't think exists. Most people I have met would rather spend that $73 million on tax breaks for small business, investments in higher education or paying down the deficit. Instead, we're subsidizing Israel's illegal occupation and gross human rights violations.
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice, a US Campaign member group
Trial Spotlights Israeli Accountability For Unlawful Killing of Nonviolent Protester
L A S T W O R D S
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