End the Siege on the People of Gaza International Day of Action, Jan. 26
|Wednesday, January 23,2008 01:30|
Israel is continuing to escalate its attacks on Gaza, killing more than 40 Palestinians just this past week and wounding scores more, and has placed the already besieged territory under complete lockdown.That is eliminating what little access the besieged population had to food, fuel, clean water and ever-more-urgent medical services. By Sunday Gaza’s only power generator was shut down because of a lack of fuel; hospitals are starting to be affected and Palestinian medical officials reported five gravely ill patients had died.
Israel’s announcement, under international pressure, that it would allow one day’s worth of fuel to re-start Gaza’s only power generating plant does not mean an end to the crisis; Gaza will remain desperate as Israel continues to use the access to vitally needed fuel and other goods as a weapon of occupation to impose collective punishment on the entire population of Gaza. The conditions in Gaza have become desperate, and international solidarity organizations in London, Rome and elsewhere around the world are mobilizing to demand an end to the siege of Gaza in protests on January 26. That same day Israeli peace groups are organizing an emergency convoy to try to break the siege.
Israel’s increasing attacks on Gaza - the economic blockade and military assaults - are not in response to the rocket attacks from Gaza. The Israeli attacks, and Israel’s continuing occupation-through-siege of Gaza, are the reason for the rocket fire in the first place. But even if the Israeli attacks were in response to Gaza rockets, such a response would still be illegal (collective punishment is always illegal), disproportionate, and ultimately futile.
U.S. military support bolsters Israel’s occupation and enables the current escalating punishment. The U.S. must stop all military aid to Israel, and demand that Israel end its collective punishment and indiscriminate bombing of the civilian population of Gaza. Further, the U.S. must push for a comprehensive ceasefire that covers all the occupied Palestinian territories. Otherwise, the U.S. will continue to be vilified for its support of collective punishment and attacks on civilians, U.S. citizens will be seen by the rest of the world as complicit in major human rights violations, and any future talks about "peace" will be viewed as providing continuing support for an Israeli-imposed military settlement.
Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at 202-647-7209. Demand:
An immediate end to the assault on Gaza, and the opening of its border crossings to people and goods.
Call your national as well as your local media. Demand:
Write a letter to the editor in response to an article in your paper using the talking points in this action alert.
For contact information, click here.
If your group has consultative status at the United Nations, call the office of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon:
Demand that the UN hold Israel, as a member state, accountable for its human rights violations.
Protest the Secretary-General’s statement of January 17, 2008, repeated on January 18, in which he demanded an "immediate halt" to Palestinian rocket and sniper fire from Gaza, but only urged "maximum restraint" from the Israeli occupation forces assaulting Gaza. In both statements he "reminds all parties of their obligation to comply with international humanitarian law and not to endanger civilians," without acknowledging the different obligations between an occupied population and an occupying power already violating numerous UN resolutions that demand an end to the occupation itself.
Find out about the January 26 convoy that will try to break the siege of Gaza with food and medicine: http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/events/1200266785
Join Protests in the United States on Jan. 26 or Organize Your Own
-The Cleveland Middle East Peace Forum will sponsor a rally and town
-In Philadelphia various groups are supporting the Jan. 26 day of action, with a press conference on Friday 1/25 and a march to the Israeli consulate on 1/26. For more information, contact [email protected]
-January 24 Boston Action
JEWS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN GAZA
Let us know you are coming [email protected] - Please bring a food item to deliver to the consulate. We are going to present cartons of food and medical aid to the Israeli consul’s office (Park Plaza Hotel, noon Thursday 24 January) and request that it be taken to Gaza, and that the Israeli government let the Gaza Relief Convoy through the Erez Checkpoint on 26 January. On Saturday, January 26, from NOON to 1 PM in Harvard Square there will be a demonstration in support of the International Campaign to Break the Siege of Gaza. On that date, Israeli peace groups will attempt to enter the Gaza Strip with a convoy of essential supplies and medicines. Gaza no longer has sufficient fuel to keep its power station running. Hospitals and homes are dark and cold, remaining food stocks are being spoiled, the water and sewage infrastructure is breaking down. We American taxpayers — who make this collective punishment possible — must raise our voices. Please join us if you can — the group will gather on the sidewalk in front of Au Bon Pain.
Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights
BACKGROUND & TALKING POINTS
1. Demand an immediate end to the assault on Gaza and open borders The 1.5 million citizens of Gaza, half of whom are children aged 14 and under, have been under an increasingly tight siege since January 2006 when Hamas was elected in free and fair elections - at least as free and fair as any election held under military occupation can be. The living standards of the population have plummeted and their access to medical services, education, and basic food has dwindled.Over 80% of Gazans now live in poverty according to the United Nations and the World Bank. The World Bank has identified Israel’s tight control of movement of people and goods into and out of, as well as within, the occupied territories as the single most important reason for the collapse of the Palestinian economy. Israel has never implemented the agreement on movement and access that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice negotiated in November 2005. Israel must end its assault on Gaza and let Gaza have open borders to the rest of the world.
2. Call for a comprehensive ceasefire that covers all territories and all parties to the conflict. Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed a ceasefire that included Gaza on November 26, 2006. However, Israel continued to conduct incursions into the West Bank and carry out "targeted assassinations," some of which resulted in the murder of civilians. Between November 26, 2006 and April 3, 2007, Israeli forces killed 51 Palestinians in the West Bank. Rocket fire from Gaza into Israel came as a clear retaliation to these killings. The ceasefire collapsed on April 22, 2007. Although the U.S. media continually claims that Israeli attacks are in response to Palestinian rocket fire, the actual pattern of Israeli attacks provoking Palestinian responses has been documented by Israeli journalist Gideon Levy.(See his July 9 and December 3 2006 articles on http://www.haaretz.com, as well as Institute for Palestine Studies Policy Notes No. 15 on http://www.palestine-studies.org) Official U.S. statements supporting Israel’s assaults on Gaza make the U.S. government complicit in Israeli violations of the Geneva conventions (which prohibit all collective punishment).
3. Urge an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. Although Israel has not dismantled even the West Bank "outposts" as it had promised the U.S., let alone the rest of its illegal settlements and infrastructure in the West Bank, the U.S. has increased military aid to Israel by 25% for a total of $30 billion over the next 10 years. U.S. military and political support means Israel can ignore legitimate Palestinian aspirations for independence, sovereignty, equality and justice. It makes a mockery of claimed U.S. support for the "peace process," because the U.S. guarantees the overwhelming superiority of the Israeli occupier and its decades-long exploitation of Palestinian land and resources.
The U.S. must not be complicit in what the rest of the world understands to be one country’s destruction of a country and people.Only an end to U.S. military aid to Israel will signal that our country is beginning to get serious about peace.
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation