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Obama: Don't Let Israel Bomb Gaza Hospital

International solidarity activists, including American journalist Joe Catron, are acting as “human shields” to prevent the Israeli military from bombing Wafa Hospital in Gaza.

Urge President Obama and your representatives in Congress to demand that Israel refrain from bombing Wafa Hospital and other medical facilities in Gaza protected by international humanitarian law by signing our petition at MoveOn:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/dont-bomb-Gaza-hospital

As of Wednesday morning, 213 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, including at least 34 children. [1] [2] About 80% of the casualties have been civilians, according to the UN. [3]

Wafa Hospital in Gaza’s Shujaiyya district has already been hit twice by Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military has told the hospital to evacuate, but the hospital’s staff say that 16 elderly and terminally ill patients are too frail to move. [4]

When an Israeli military officer called the hospital late on Tuesday warning that it must be evacuated by 8AM Wednesday morning, Dr. Basman Alashi, the hospital’s executive director, called the World Health Organization, saying that such a move would risk the lives of patients.

On Wednesday, while many inhabitants of the surrounding area were fleeing in response to Israeli bombardment warnings, Dr. Alashi, 16 medical staff members and the same number of patients stayed behind.

They have been joined by eight international solidarity activists, including American journalist Joe Catron, who have volunteered to act as human shields at the hospital. [5]

Press President Obama and Members of Congress to demand that Israel not bomb Wafa Hospital or other medical facilities in Gaza protected by international humanitarian law by signing and sharing our petition:

Don't let Congress kill Iran talks!

The deadline on the latest round of Iran talks is just around the corner and, as expected, the Iran hawks in Congress are getting ready to swoop in for the kill.

Senators Robert Menendez and Lindsey Graham are circulating a letter that sets unreasonable demands on an agreement which have no productive use other than creating ill-will. [1]

AIPAC and friends are out on the Hill lobbying aggressively to get your Senators to sign this letter. That’s why they need to hear from you!

Tell your Senators not to sign the Menendez-Graham letter by sending an email today.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/letdiplomacywork

Negotiators are hard at work trying to reach a final deal with Iran, which will require compromise on both sides. But the conditions set in the Menendez-Graham letter throw compromise out the window by insisting on such non-starters as the dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Iran has held to its side of the interim deal. It has shown good faith so far. We need to give the negotiators the chance to do their work without interference from those who don’t seem to want to see a deal—no matter the form. Since war is the only alternative to diplomacy, we need to fight against any attempt to sabotage talks.

The deadline for Senators to sign is Wednesday. Tell your Senators not to sign the Menendez-Graham letter now.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/letdiplomacywork

Thanks for all you do to help avoid war,

Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Help us reach our July fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!
Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

References:

Protesters at “New York Stands With Israel” Press Conference Insist City Council Members "Do Not Speak for Us!"


Protesters confront Rep. Eliot Engel and others as they depart the "New York Stands With Israel" press conference at New York City Hall on Monday, July 14, 2014.

Around a hundred protesters surrounded New York City Hall during a “New York Stands With Israel” press conference Monday morning. The event, which was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York, was intended to give New York City legislators the opportunity to justify Israel’s week-long bombing campaign of Gaza. But chants of “shame on you, City Council”, “New York stands with Palestine”, and “from Brooklyn to Palestine, genocide is a crime” penetrated the press conference—and media reports of it.

“Our elected officials are using their positions as representatives of the people of New York to lend support to Israel’s abuses and violations of international law,” Adalah-NY member Mindy Gershon stated. “These officials don’t speak for us!”

“We want to let the City Council know that most of New York does not support racist genocide and apartheid by [Israel],” said Bill Dores, a member of Al-Awada Right to Return Coalition.

Union Square March & Rally Against US Support for Israeli Impunity


Protesters chant "money for health and education—not for Israel's occupation!" while marching down Broadway in Greenwich Village, NYC on Friday, July 11, 2014.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Union Square in New York City on Friday to call for Americans to end their support of Israeli impunity in Palestine. Demonstrators held a rally outside Max Brenner Chocolates—a target of boycotts for their financial support of the Israeli army's Golani Brigade, often cited for their involvement in war crimes in the occupied territories—then marched down and back up Broadway to rally again in the Square.

The US sends over $3 billion a year in taxpayer money to Israel. Many millions more in American money is invested in companies that are involved in the occupation.

Around the world, thousands continue to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people and demanding an end to Israeli aggression. Cities such as Paris, Oslo, Chicago, Jakarta, Rome and San Francisco have played host to demonstrations within the last week. In London alone, participation is said to have been around 10,000.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that "no international pressure" would stop him from continuing to strike Gaza. He also said that "there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan," thus expressing the intent to occupy Palestinian territory indefinitely.

Congress: Use War Powers to Pull U.S. Troops From Iraq

Without Congressional authorization, President Obama has sent hundreds of U.S. soldiers to Iraq who could be used to call in airstrikes – airstrikes that would be certain to kill Iraqi children against whom we have no grievance.

Congress has never voted on this. When Congress passed the War Powers Resolution in 1973, it included a provision for just this situation: a provision to allow Members of Congress to force a vote on the deployment of U.S. troops to a combat situation.

Representatives Jim McGovern, Walter Jones, and Barbara Lee are now using this provision of the 1973 War Powers Resolution to force a vote on the deployment of U.S. soldiers for offensive military action in Iraq.

Urge your Representative to co-sponsor and vote for H Con Res 105 by signing our petition at MoveOn:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/iraq-withdrawal-war-powers

On June 19, President Obama notified Congress that he was sending U.S. troops to Iraq to serve as advisers to the Iraqi military. Press reports have indicated that these troops could be used for offensive military action, including calling in airstrikes. These are different troops than the troops President Obama sent earlier to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Congress has not authorized the U.S. use of military force in Iraq now. Nearly 200 Members of the House are on record saying that the authorization for the use of force in Iraq passed by Congress in 2002 should not be used to justify the use of force in Iraq today.

Under the War Powers Resolution passed by Congress in 1973, Members of Congress have 30 days from the President’s June 19 notification to introduce a “privileged” resolution – a resolution that can’t be buried in committee, but must go to the floor to be voted on – which would require the troops to be withdrawn.

Netanyahu's War: What Is It Good For?

Originally published at Huffington Post.

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a new war on Palestinians in Gaza, a war whose purported justifications make George W. Bush's excuses for his illegal invasion of Iraq smell nice by comparison. So far, the United States, Netanyahu's chief enabler, has been unwilling to stop the carnage, as it could easily do, because Washington hasn't yet heard enough complaint from Americans not to use their tax dollars to kill children in Gaza.

Thousands Gather for NYC Protest for Palestine

Max Blumenthal addresses the crowd gathered outside the Israeli Consulate on 42nd St & 2nd Ave in NYC on July 9, 2014.

Press Obama Administration for Gaza Ceasefire

The Israeli military carried out a second night of airstrikes in Gaza July 8. As of Wednesday morning, July 9, at least 29 Palestinians had been killed since the airstrikes began July 7, including seven children under the age of 16. [1] At least two Israelis had been lightly wounded by rocket fire from Gaza, Haaretz reported. [2] The military conflict “showed no signs of abating,” according to a New York Times report on July 9. [3]

Urge President Obama and your representatives in Congress to support vigorous diplomatic efforts to end the violence, by signing our petition at MoveOn:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/ceasefire-Israel-Palestine

From the past, we know how this ends. There will be a new ceasefire. The key question is how long it will take, how many people will be killed and injured, how much will be destroyed in the meantime.

The United States can help save both Israeli and Palestinian lives by speaking out urgently in support of a ceasefire, and working vigorously with U.S. allies in the region that have good relations with both sides, such as Egypt and Jordan, to press for a ceasefire. The U.S. can help make the ceasefire last by pressing for an agreement that would permanently lift the blockade of Gaza.

The State Department should also continue to press for an investigation of the beating of U.S. citizen Tarek Abu Khdeir while in Israeli police custody. [4]

Press the Obama Administration to engage vigorously and urgently by signing and sharing our petition.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/ceasefire-Israel-Palestine

Thanks for all you do to help rid humanity of the scourge of war,

Robert Naiman and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

Help us reach our July fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!
Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

References:

State Department Spokesperson flustered by question on Palestinians' right to defend themselves

When the deteriorating situation in Israel/Palestine came up during today's State Department press briefing, Spokesperson Jen Psaki fluently regurgitated the official Israeli line on their escalating air assaults on Gaza: Israel is responding to rocket fire from Gaza; Israel has the right to defense itself; yada yada.

But when confronted by the question of whether Palestinians also have the right to defend themselves, Psaki apparently lost the ability to form a cogent thought. So strange a notion it was to her that anyone would need to defend themselves from Israel, she asked whether there was "a specific event or a specific occurrence" the reporter was referring to. Ultimately, she evaded the question by throwing out the word "terrorist organization" and that "the threat ... to civilian populations is of great concern to us." But really, only if they are Israeli.

Meanwhile, eight children are reported to have been killed tonight in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. How many more will US officials allow to die before they call for a ceasefire?

Read the full exchange below.

QUESTION: But you feel that sort of the Israeli air raids, like maybe hundreds of them so far this day, are proportionate to the rockets?

MS. PSAKI: That’s not – I wouldn’t validate the accuracy of that number, but I would say, Said --

QUESTION: Okay. Well, the sorties – there are hundreds of sorties.

MS. PSAKI: I would say, Said, that I don’t think any country would be expected to allow rockets to come in and threaten the lives and health and well-being of the citizens in their country, and Israel has the right to defend themselves.

QUESTION: Okay. Do you believe that the Palestinians in Gaza have the right to defend themselves?

Iraq war powers: where do House members stand?

This post is so that I can refer to my spreadsheet in blogging. For now, the attached spreadsheet is not intended to be pretty, only to be accurate. My hope is especially to educate journalists to the fact that nearly half the House is on record opposing the invocation of the 2002 Iraq AUMF to justify the use of force in Iraq today.

The columns are as follows:

Lee-Rigell Iraq (80): the eighty signers of the Rigell-Lee Iraq war powers letter, which is here: http://lee.house.gov/sites/lee.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Scanned%20from%20a%20Xerox%20multifunction%20device001_0.pdf Lee's press release is here: http://lee.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/bipartisan-letter-calls-for-congressional-authorization-before-any-military

nix Iraq AUMF (182): the 182 House Members who voted on June 19 to bar funding for using the 2002 Iraq AUMF. That roll call is here: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll326.xml

nix AUMF: this column has a 1 if the person voted to defund the Iraq AUMF.

either (192): this column has a 1 if the person signed the Rigell-Lee letter, voted to defund the AUMF, or both. 192 Members are in this category. That is, 192 Members of the House are on record as opposing the use of the 2002 Iraq AUMF in Iraq today.

R-L not AUMF (10): these are the ten Members of the House who signed the Rigell-Lee letter but did not vote yes on defunding the Iraq AUMF on June 19. They are: Julia Brownley (voted no) Michael Capuano (did not vote) Andre Carson (voted no) Eleanor Holmes Norton (not allowed to vote) Collin Peterson (voted no) Charles B. Rangel (did not vote) Bobby L. Rush (did not vote) Matt Salmon (voted no) Kyrsten Sinema (voted no) Bennie M. Thompson (did not vote).