gaza

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.

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.

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?

Let us know what you thought of the Int'l Gaza Day Twitter Campaign

No matter whether you participated in our Twitter campaign or not, we want your input! Fill out this quick survey to let us know what we can improve in our next social media campaign.

Support the International Freedom for Gaza Day

Hashtag is #UnblockGazaMay31 but DO NOT START UNTIL 10AM ET! Sample tweets below. Countdown: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gazaday-countdown

On April 29, 2014, Gaza's Ark—a refurbished boat that was set to sail in June from the port of Gaza out to sea carrying Palestinian export goods—was sabotaged when explosive devices caused substantial damage to its hull. Repairing the boat will cost about $30,000. The attack is still under investigation.

Gaza's Ark can be ready to sail this fall—but we need your support to make it happen.

Human rights activists have called for an International Freedom for Gaza Day on May 31 to mark the fourth anniversary of the attack on the Mavi Marmara, which killed nine Turkish and a Turkish-American human rights activist—the tenth died this week after four years in a coma [2]—as they attempted to challenge the blockade of Gaza. Actions drawing attention to the siege will take place in Gaza, Turkey, and around the world.

If you participate in social media, you have a unique opportunity to help raise the profile of the International Freedom Day for Gaza and Gaza's Ark.

Find sample tweets in Pastebin below but DO NOT START UNTIL 10AM ET. Here's a countdown: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gazaday-countdown

Gaza's Ark Attacked: Show Your Support

In the last few days, we asked you to participate in efforts to support Gaza's Ark, a project to politically challenge the blockade of Gaza by bringing a boat out of the port of Gaza carrying Palestinian exports. Thanks to the many of you who signed the Gaza's Ark petition or participated in the Twitter storm!

Today, we have grim news. Gaza's Ark was attacked last night. [1]

At 3:45 AM Gaza time, the night guard on board Gaza's Ark received a call to leave the boat because it was going to be attacked. The guard left, but when nothing happened after about 5 minutes, he returned. A few minutes later, a large explosion rocked the boat, causing extensive damage. [2]

The boat sank part way and is now sitting on the shallow sea floor. The guard was not injured but was taken to the hospital for tests.

Investigations are underway, both to determine what happened and to determine whether the boat can be repaired.

Here's how you can help now:

1. Help us get the word out about what has happened to the boat. If you're on Twitter, share tweets from @GazaArk and @justfp about what happened. If you're on Facebook, share the Al Jazeera article.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/04/blast-damages-gaza-anti...

2. Sign and share the petition. If you haven't signed the petition to the UN against the blockade yet, please sign and share. If you have signed it, please share it again. The petition currently has 6,500 signatures. We'd like to get that to 10,000 in the next few days.
http://www.gazaark.org/2014/04/26/petition-to-the-un/

Thank you for all you do to challenge the siege of Gaza,

Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

Please help us reach our April fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!

President Obama, Commute Manning's Sentence to Time Served

On August 21, U.S. citizen Bradley Manning - now known as Chelsea Manning -was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information to the public about the killing of civilians in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; drone strikes in Yemen; torture in Guantanamo, Iraq, and Egypt; the coup in Honduras; corruption in Tunisia, the U.S. use of cluster bombs, and the blockade of Gaza, among many other issues of public concern about U.S. foreign policy.

As Amnesty International noted, Manning has already served more than three years in pre-trial detention, including 11 months in conditions described by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture as cruel and inhumane. Amnesty is calling on President Obama to commute Manning's sentence to time served.

Obama, Clinton: Injuring Israeli Civilians Worse Than Killing Palestinian Civilians

Hamas and Israel have reportedly agreed to terms for a ceasefire, which should be taking effect right about now. This is a welcome development.

But just because a ceasefire has been agreed upon doesn't mean that we can or should forget the United States's hypocritical response to the violence, which was on display as late as this morning when President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued statements on a bus bombing in Tel Aviv said by some to be perpetrated by Hamas.

Demand Obama Press for Immediate Ceasefire Between Israel and Hamas

Didn't they learn anything last time?

In 2008, the Israeli military invaded Gaza, claiming they were going to destroy Hamas. They didn't destroy Hamas - politically, they made it stronger - but they did kill a thousand Palestinian civilians and destroy a lot of Palestinian civilian infrastructure, some of which was never fully rebuilt due to the Israel-Egypt-US blockade of Gaza.

Now Israel is attacking Gaza again. The stated reason is rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Of course, that's not the complete story. [1] But more violence from Israel into Gaza isn't going to end rocket fire from Gaza. It hasn't in the past and won't in the future. The violence can only end with a political agreement to stop all violence across the Israel-Gaza border. The first step is an immediate cease-fire. This should lead to a political agreement that guarantees a permanent end to armed attacks across the border from both sides and permanently ends the siege of Gaza's economy and people.

Urge President Obama and Members of Congress to work towards an immediate ceasefire and a political agreement that permanently ends the violence and ends the blockade. You can use the following link:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gaza-ceasefire

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

Please support our work. Donate for a Just Foreign Policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

References:

1. See, e.g.,

“Who Started the Israel-Gaza Conflict?” Robert Wright, The Atlantic, November 16, 2012, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/11/who-started-the-israel-gaza-conflict/265374/