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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.
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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).

Tarek out of jail; U.S. demands investigation of beating

Thank you to the 12,600 of you who took action for Tarek Abu Khdeir!

We’re happy to report that Tarek was released from jail yesterday morning. Even though he was not charged with any crime, his family was made to pay $877 bail and he was sentenced to house arrest until his scheduled departure for the US next week.

Tarek’s case is unjust, but his position as a US citizen helped attract world-wide attention and expedited his release, something that the hundreds of Palestinian children arrested by Israel each year are not afforded. Defense for Children International reported 214 Palestinian children in Israeli jails at the end of May, with the number surpassing 250 during Israel’s recent military campaign in the West Bank.

The State Department has called for Israeli authorities to conduct a “speedy, transparent and credible investigation” on Tarek’s beating. We will continue to follow the situation closely.

For a media round-up on Tarek’s release, including this morning’s New York Times front page and a Washington Post video interview with Tarek and his mother, check out this article at Mondoweiss.

Thank you for helping protect a US citizen abroad,

Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Help us reach our July fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!

URGENT ACTION: Teenage US Citizen Beaten by Israeli Police

A 15-year-old Palestinian-American youth was severely beaten by Israeli police in East Jerusalem on July 3 [1]. The beating was caught on video. [2] According to the human rights group Addameer, the victim, Tarek Abu Khdeir, from Tampa, Florida, was beaten by two undercover Israeli police in the yard of his uncle's home in East Jerusalem. [3]

Tarek, who sustained serious injuries to the face and head was arrested and held without charge by Israeli police, who denied him access to medical care for five hours. Tarek is a relative of Mohamed Abu Khdeir, the 16-year-old Palestinian boy found burned to death on Wednesday in what was apparently an act of retribution by Israeli extremists for the killing of three Israeli teenagers. [4]

Urge the State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, and the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem to protest Tarek’s beating by Israeli police, to demand that he receive adequate medical attention and due process, and to attend his court hearing on Sunday morning.

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

If you're on Twitter, join the Twitter Storm NOW (11am Pacific/1pm Central/2pm Eastern/9pm Palestine) being led by @samidounpp. The hashtag is #FreeTarek.

Thank you for helping protect a US citizen abroad,

Robert Naiman and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

Help us reach our July fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!
Thank you to everyone who made our June fundraiser a success! If you didn't get a chance to donate but you want to, please do so. Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

References:

Call TODAY: Tell your Rep to Support Rigell-Lee Letter

Some people claim that there’s nothing we can do to stop the President from launching a new war in Iraq, if that’s what he decides to do. But last August, when the President had decided to bomb Syria, we proved that wasn’t true. When 192 Members of the House said he had to come to Congress for authorization before using military force, the President decided to go to Congress. When he couldn’t get authorization for force, he chose diplomacy instead.

We have the same opportunity now. If we can get enough Members of Congress to sign the Rigell-Lee letter saying that the President has to come to Congress before using force, we can stop the rush to war.

Call your Representative now at 202-225-3121. When you speak to a staffer, say:

I urge Rep. ____ to sign the Rigell-Lee letter, saying the President must come to Congress for authorization before using force in Iraq. I would like to know whether Rep. ____ plans to sign the Rigell-Lee letter.

When you’ve made your call, you can report it using our easy response form below.

Bipartisan Rigell-Lee letter to Pres. Obama on Iraq: respect Constitution on using force

Virginia Republican Scott Rigell and California Democrat Barbara Lee are leading a bipartisan letter to President Obama, urging the President to respect the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authorization before using military force in Iraq.

To urge your Representative to sign the bipartisan Rigell-Lee letter, sign our petition at MoveOn.

Here is the letter:

===

Dear Mr. President:

We join you and with those in the international community who are expressing grave concern over the rise in sectarian violence in Iraq over the last days and weeks. The consequences of this development are particularly troubling given the extraordinary loss of American lives and expenditure of funds over ten years that was claimed to be necessary to bring democracy, stability and a respect for human rights to Iraq. 

We support your restraint to date in resisting the calls for a “quick” and “easy” military intervention, and for your commitment not to send combat troops back to Iraq. We also appreciate your acknowledgement that this conflict requires a political solution, and that military action alone cannot successfully lead to a resolution.

We do not believe intervention could be either quick or easy. And, we doubt it would be effective in meeting either humanitarian or strategic goals, and that it could very well be counter-productive. This is a moment for urgent consultations and engagement with all parties in the region who could bring about a cease fire and launch a dialogue that could lead to a reconciliation of the conflict.

Any solution to this complex crisis can only be achieved through a political settlement, and nothing short of that can successfully bring stability to Iraq or the region and only  if the process and outcome is inclusive of all segments of the Iraqi population.

Presbyterians Divest from the Israeli Occupation: the End of the Beginning?

When there is a just resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict, I will claim that June 20, 2014 marked a turning point.

That was the day that the Presbyterian Church, USA voted to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions as a result of these companies' continued involvement in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and these companies' continued refusal to change their policies.

VICTORY! Presbyterians vote to divest from Caterpillar, HP & Motorola!

Just a short time ago, the Presbyterian General Assembly voted 310-303 to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard over these companies’ ties to the Israeli occupation! Commissioners took this step to put their investments in line with their values despite persistent attempts by opponents to conflate this selective divestment with a boycott of all Israelis or even of all Jews.

That’s in part thanks to everyone who showed support for Presbyterians considering divestment!

The Presbyterian Church is the largest Christian denomination to divest from companies involved in the Israeli occupation, making this vote a historic victory for justice and human rights.

Presbyterians have taken a bold step toward putting their values into action. Let’s spread the news!

The Presbyterian action is making headlines all over the news. Help spread the word by reading and sharing the New York Times article on Presbyterian divestment

Thanks for all you do to support Palestinian rights,

Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

P.S. If you’re on Twitter, send the PCUSA a “Thank you!” Here’s a sample tweet:

Thank you #PCUSA for bringing your investments in line with your values by passing #ChurchDivest! #GA221

Help us reach our June fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!
If you can, please make a donation today. Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
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