From an email:
Please allow me to share with you our statement below about the headlines seen in papers across the world yesterday and today.
In sadness on this terrible day,
Jewish Voice for Peace
December 28, 2008
Jewish Voice for Peace joins millions around the world, including the 1,000 Israelis who protested in the streets of Tel Aviv this weekend, in condemning ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza. We call for an immediate end to attacks on all civilians, whether Palestinian or Israeli.
Israel’s slow strangulation of Gaza through blockade has caused widespread suffering to the 1.5 million people of Gaza due to lack of food, electricity, water treatment supplies and medical equipment. It is a violation of humanitarian law and has been widely condemned around the world.
In resisting this strangulation, Hamas resumed launching rockets and mortars from Gaza into southern Israel, directly targeting civilians, which is also a war crime. Over the years, these poorly made rockets have been responsible for the deaths of 15 Israelis since 2004.
Every country, Israel included, has the right and obligation to protect its citizens. The recent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza shows that diplomatic agreements are the best protection for civilian life.
Moreover, massive Israeli air strikes have proven an indiscriminate and brutal weapon. In just two days, the known death toll is close to 300, and the attacks are continuing. By targeting the infrastructure of a poor and densely populated area, Israel has ensured widespread civilian casualties among this already suffering and vulnerable population.
This massive destruction of Palestinian life will not protect the citizens of Israel. It is illegal and immoral and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. And it threatens to ignite the West Bank and add flames to the other fires burning in the Middle East and beyond for years to come.
The timing of this attack, during the waning days of a US administration that has undertaken a catastrophic policy toward the Middle East and during the run-up to an Israeli election, suggests an opportunistic agenda for short-term political gain at an immense cost in Palestinian lives. In the long run this policy will benefit no-one except those who always profit from war and exploitation. Only a just and lasting peace, achieved through a negotiated agreement, can provide both Palestinians and Israelis the security they want and deserve.
What we will do together.
JVP is working now to develop a multi-faceted and long-term response to the attacks on and strangulation of Gaza. We will let you know soon how you can be a part of this. But in this moment, especially for thos of you who live in the United States:
1. The US Campaign to End the Occupation has a list of street actions taking place around the US now.
2. Contact the US White House to protest the attack and demand an immediate cease-fire. Call 202-456-1111 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Contact the State Department at 202-647-6575
4. Contact your Representative and Senators in Congress at 202-224-3121
5. Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor.
From another email:
TAKE ACTION TO
DECRY THE ATTACKS ON GAZA
27 December 2008
The world majority stands with the Palestinian people in this devastating time that Israeli Defense Secretary Ehud Barak calls “just the beginning.” Israeli attacks on Gaza in the past 24 hours have killed over 200 people and injured hundreds more. We decry the multiple forms of collective punishment currently being inflicted that reflect Israel’s 60-plus year history of ethnic cleansing: lack of access to electricity and potable water, blockades of food and medicine, and these brutal attacks.
We are outraged but not surprised by this escalation. Israel’s unilaterally designed and implemented disengagement from Gaza has maintained control of the borders, air and water space, and completely isolated Gaza practically and politically. This has been accomplished with unconditional support from the United States and its allies and with the complicity of the broader international community and Gaza’s neighbors. It has also set the stage for these horrendous events.
The media frames this violence as a conflict between warring peoples with equal power. This framing is possible because the media fails to recognize Israel as an apartheid State or as a colonial occupying force with one of the most technologically advanced militaries in the world.
The Gaza-based One Democratic State Group has called for “all civil society organizations and freedom loving people to act immediately in any possible way to put pressure on their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute sanctions against it.” IJAN stands in solidarity with the people of Gaza and supports this call.
WE ASK YOU TO JOIN US AND TAKE ACTION!
1. Join or organize emergency protests and direct actions in partnership with Palestine solidarity and social justice organizations in your area. Please send announcements of actions you are joining or organizing (with date, time and location) to email@example.com so they can be announced on our web site. Also send reports of actions you participate in so this information can be shared with people around the world.
2. Donate money through the Middle East Children’s Alliance to pay for desperately needed medical supplies and their delivery. The current conditions in Gaza medical facilities are dire. The Middle Easthealth organizations in Gaza to procure the most-needed medicines and send them direct to Gaza with the help of the Free Gaza Movement. Children’s Alliance is working with
3. Flood Israeli embassies and consulates with letters and calls decrying the attacks. Find contact info for Israeli embassies around the world.
4. Contact government officials and call on them to act by denouncing the attacks and demanding an immediate cease-fire.
5. Shift the framing of Israel’s actions in the media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor.
6. Sign the petition in support of UN General Assembly President Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann who has spoken out to condemn Israeli “Apartheid” and call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
And another email:
Take Action to Protest Israeli Attack on Gaza
Mid-morning Saturday, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched a series of deadly air strikes on the occupied Gaza Strip. As we write this, an estimated 275 people have been killed. Hundreds of innocent people have been wounded. According to news reports today, Israel plans to keep these attacks going and has brought scores of tanks to the border with Gaza.
These Israeli attacks come on top of a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip which has been going on for years and has created a humanitarian catastrophe of dire proportions for Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinian residents by restricting the provision of food, fuel, medicine, electricity, and other necessities of life. All of this is happening in the most densely populated and one of the poorest areas of the world.
Israel is carrying out these attacks with F-16 fighter jets and missiles provided by U.S. taxpayers. From 2001-2006, the United States transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts to fly its fleet of F-16’s. In July 2008, the United States gave Israel 186 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel. Last year, the United States signed a $1.3 billion contract with Raytheon to transfer to Israel thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and ‘bunker buster’ missiles.
Israel’s lethal attack on the Gaza Strip could not have happened without the active military and political support of the United States. We need to take action now to protest this attack and demand an immediate cease-fire.
The U.S. Campaign to End the Israel Occupation (a member group pf UFPJ) has issued an action alert with these suggestions — we urge you to take action today!
- Contact the White House to protest the attacks and demand an immediate cease-fire. Call 202-456-1111 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contact the State Department at 202-647-6575 or send an email by clicking here.
- Contact your Representative and Senators in Congress at 202-224-3121 or find contact info for your Members of Congress by clicking here.
- Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor. To find contact info for your local media, click here.
- Organize a local protest or vigil and tell us about it by clicking here.
- Sign our open letter to President-Elect Obama calling for a new U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine and find out other steps you can take to influence the incoming Administration by clicking here.
In addition, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (another member group of UFPJ) is working with health organizations in Gaza to procure the most-needed medicines and send them directly to Gaza with the help of the Free Gaza Movement. You can make a secure online contribution now.
Below are three articles you may want to read for background information and reports on the Gaza crisis. [pdf files]
‘If Gaza Falls…’, Sara Roy, Professor at Harvard’s Center For Middle Eastern Studies and author of ‘Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict’.
‘Gaza Massacres Must Spur Us To Action’, Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of ‘One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse’ (Metropolitan Books, 2006).
‘Report on Gaza’, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Update December 22, 2008.
Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ today.
UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
www.unitedforpeace.org | 212-868-5545
PO Box 607; Times Square Station; New York, NY 10108
And from another email:
Twenty-four hours ago, Israeli Defense Forces struck the Gaza Strip, leaving hundreds dead and wounded – pushing the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict further down a path of never-ending violence.
I felt immediate pressure from friends and family to pick a side. Did I think that Israel’s actions were fully justified or disproportionate? Did Hamas bring this on itself by firing rockets and provoking Israel or are the strikes an act of aggression against a people trapped in misery and poverty? Couldn’t I see who’s right and who’s wrong?
At this moment of extreme crisis, J Street wants to demonstrate that, among those who care about Israel and its security, there is a constituency for sanity and moderation. There are many who recognize elements of truth on both sides of this gaping divide and who know that closing it requires strong American engagement and leadership.
Click here to sign our petition demanding an immediate and strong U.S.-led diplomatic effort to reinstate a meaningful ceasefire ending the violence, including the rockets aimed at Israel, and lifting the blockade of Gaza.
Israel has a special place in my heart. I lived there last year while my wife was studying to be a rabbi. But I recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right or wrong. While there is nothing “right” in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing “right” in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them.
And there is nothing to be gained from debating which injustice is greater or came first. What’s needed now is immediate action to stop the violence before it spirals out of control.
The United States, the Quartet, and the world community must not wait – as they did in the Israel-Lebanon crisis of 2006 – for weeks to pass and hundreds or thousands more to die before intervening. There needs to be an urgent end to the new hostilities that brings a complete end to military operations, including an end to the rocket fire out of Gaza, and that allows food, fuel and other civilian necessities into Gaza.
The need for diplomatic engagement goes beyond a short-term ceasefire. Eight years of the Bush Administration’s neglect and ineffective diplomacy have led us directly to a moment when the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hang in the balance and with them the prospects for Israel’s long-term survival as a Jewish, democratic state.
Following a renegotiated ceasefire, we urge the incoming Obama administration to lead an early and serious effort to achieve a comprehensive diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts.
This is a fundamental American interest. We too stand to suffer as the situation spirals, rage in the region is directed at the United States, and our regional allies are further undermined. Our goals must be a Middle East that moves beyond bloody conflicts, an Israel that is secure and accepted in the region, and an America secured by reducing extremism and enhancing stability. None of these goals are achieved by further escalation.
Even in the heat of battle, as friends and supporters of Israel, we need to remember that only diplomacy and negotiations can end the rockets and terror and bring Israel long-term security and peace. American politicians are already hearing from those who see only one side. Help us give voice to the large number of Americans who recognizes that justice will only be served when the rights and grievances of both sides are recognized and a peaceful two-state solution to this long-running conflict is put in place.
We know that many policy makers agree with us privately, but hesitate to express their views publicly because they hear only from the partisan extremes. This is our moment to show that there is real political support for shedding a narrow us-versus-them approach to the Middle East.
The situation in Gaza could not be more urgent. Who knows how many more lives will be lost before this round of violence is over? When it ends, will we look back and say if only we had spoken out sooner, more lives could have been saved, more damage avoided?
As far back as I can remember, those who see the world in black and white have overwhelmed those of us who see the shades of gray. I hope that you’ll help us to change that dynamic by forwarding this message to everyone you know – after you’ve signed our petition.
Thank you so much for joining our efforts at this difficult time. Together, we can achieve an end to this round of violence, a resumption of the ceasefire, and a serious move toward peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.
December 28, 2008
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