End the Siege on the People of Gaza: International Day of Action, Jan. 26

Dandelion Salad

from an email:


www.unitedforpeace.org
Jan. 22, 2008

Call for a Comprehensive Ceasefire, End US Military Aid to Israel

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 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 have reported that five gravely ill patients have died.

Israel’s announcement, under international pressure, that it would allow one day’s worth of fuel to restart Gaza’s only power generating plant does not mean an end to the crisis; Gaza will remain desperate as Israel continues to use 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 inGaza 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.

TAKE ACTION:

Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at 202-647-7209. Demand:

Call your national as well as your local media:

  • Demand coverage of what’s going on in the Occupied­ Palestinian territories. This is particularly important since the Israeli lock-down of Gaza has resulted in very little news emerging of the most recent attacks.
  • Write a letter to the editor in response to an article in your paper using the talking points in this action alert.

For media 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.

Contact: Office of the Secretary General, Chief of Staff Vijay Nambiar at nambiar@un.org or 1-212-963-8922.

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

see

Palestinians break out of Gaza (video)

Humanitarian impact of Israel’s blockade of Gaza + Gazans clash with Egyptian police at Rafah (videos)

So Many Tragedies in Such Little Time By photojournalist Mohammed Omer (over 18 only)

The Lessons of Violence By Chris Hedges

People are dying, Help us! Death & Darkness in Gaza By Maan