Kucinich Denounces Bush Policy on Gaza

Dandelion Salad

July 16, 2008
11:47 AM

CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Joe Benny (216)228-8850

WASHINGTON – July 16 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) sent the following letter to President Bush yesterday:

The Honorable George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

Thank you for requesting that the Department of State respond to my letter of May 14, 2008 regarding the ongoing crisis in Gaza and Israel.

Your letter states that “it is Hamas’ behavior that is responsible for the current crisis, and any meaningful improvements on the ground will require Hamas to end its attacks against Israel.” This response is very troubling.

The responsibility to care for the civilian population in Gaza is Israel’s, pursuant to the Fourth Geneva Convention (FGC) which defines the protection afforded civilians in times of war and military occupation. Israel’s right to national security indeed affords it the right to take action against Hamas. However that action should not and cannot amount to collective punishment as it does today. The current crisis may be exacerbated, instigated, even perpetuated by Hamas, but the responsibility for beginning and ending the humanitarian crisis is certainly not Hamas’s.

As an occupying power, only Israel has the ability to resume the flow of basic goods and humanitarian supplies into, and out of, the Gaza Strip. To make the resumption of such goods contingent on Hamas’s behavior is to endorse the collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5 million population in contravention of Article 33 of the FGC. Moreover, by supporting Israel’s practice of collective punishment in response to Hamas’s abominable attacks, the U.S. State Department effectively abdicates its diplomatic principles and its role as a “honest broker”.

The Gaza-Israel ceasefire, enacted on June 19, 2008, has done little to mitigate the humanitarian crisis wrought by the Israeli-imposed blockade of Gaza. The United States can and should use its influence to urge Israel to continue to ease restrictions on goods, economic activity and movement into and out of the Gaza Strip.

Additionally, the United States can help to improve conditions in Gaza by supporting United Nations programming. At present, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is able to provide an additional 12,500 jobs in Gaza as part of their sponsorship of The Summer Games. To create these jobs, UNRWA needs an additional $30 million in funding. The U.S. should work with the international community to fill this funding gap.

I look forward to your prompt response regarding the above concerns. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

h/t: http://www.commondreams.org/

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