Urge Pres. Obama to Hold Israel Responsible for Killings & Call on Netanyahu to Lift Blockade
June 2, 2010
Two days after Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the Muslim Public Affairs Council today urged all people of conscience to call the White House and State Department to urge the administration to call for an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza. Such action is crucial, since another ship packed with activists and humanitarian aid and rebuilding supplies is now sailing toward Gaza and could face deadly resistance from Israeli forces.
The "Rachel Corrie," a ship named for an American activist killed in Gaza several years ago by an Israeli bulldozer destroying Palestinian homes, is planning to arrive in Gaza late Friday or early Saturday. The vessel left Ireland carrying 550 tons of cement, educational materials, toys and medical equipment -- the latest effort by peace activists to deliver supplies and break Israel's blockade of Gaza. There are five Irish and six Malaysian people on the boat.
Hundreds of Freedom Flotilla detainees were released from prison today amid the international uproar over the raid, and swiftly deported. Four Israeli Palestinian activists who were aboard the flotilla, however, remain in Israeli custody.
While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday called Israel's ongoing blockade of Gaza "unsustainable and unacceptable," President Obama has neither condemned the military assault on the humanitarian convoy which left at least nine people dead nor called for an end to the crushing blockade.
"Friends hold friends accountable when they transgress all bounds. As a result of the blockade, the people of Gaza live in the largest open-air prison in the world and are being subjected to collective punishment," said MPAC Communications Director Edina Lekovic. "Our President has a moral and political responsibility to hold the Israeli government accountable for this heinous crime in international waters, and to ensure that it's not repeated with the Rachel Corrie."
SEE: "Envisioning Peace: A Muslim-American Perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" (MPAC policy paper)
TAKE ACTION NOW:
- Sign an online petition calling for Pres. Obama to condemn Israel's deadly raid and push for an end to the blockade on Gaza
- Call the White House - (202) 456-1111 comments | (202) 456-1414 switchboard
- Call the State Department - (202) 647-5291
- Call the House Committee on Foreign Affairs - (202) 225-5021 or send a message at http://internationalrelations.house.gov/contact.asp
- Call the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations - (202) 224-4651
- Contact your members of Congress - click here to find them
- Write letters to the editor to your local newspaper calling on the Editorial Board to call on Pres. Obama to call for an end to the blockade.
Suggested Talking Points:
President Obama and Secretary Clinton must rebuke Israel's actions and call for an end to the blockade, if there is ever to be a hope for re-starting talks. This is President Obama's make-it-or-break-it moment in the international community. Either the U.S. will be Israel's political protectorate or the leader of the free world and a champion of human rights.
- The facts speak for themselves: at least 9 international peace activists were killed by Israeli commandos who stormed their ships in international waters. The killing of the aid workers is a criminal act and the Israeli government should be held responsible for their murder. Any resistance by the aid workers carried out on their own vessels in the face of an assault on their ships cannot be used to justify the murder of 10 humanitarian workers. These killings are illegal and unconscionable.
- Israel has falsely claimed it is not occupying Gaza, but this event shows clearly that Israel is willing to use deadly force to prevent much-needed humanitarian supplies from reaching the population of Gaza. The collective punishment of 1.3 million residents of Gaza is a war crime, a violation of international law, and a massive impediment to any peace process. More than 75% of Palestinians living in Gaza rely in international aid just to feed their families, leading the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to call it the worst humanitarian crisis in 30 years.
Our blind support for Israel's policies -- good, bad, and ugly -- is becoming a growing obstacle in our relations with the international community. The European Union, more than a dozen nations plus a host of Nobel Peace Prize winners have condemned Israel's actions and called for an end to the blockade. Pres. Obama must speak up before the deadly violence used against non-violent activists is repeated with the Rachel Corrie and other peaceful humanitarian convoys.
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