Action Alerts

IDF, Settlers Attack New Palestinian Protest Village, #AlManatir

Earlier today, Palestinian nonviolent activists established a new tent village called al-Manatir in the West Bank village of Burin, near Nablus, to protest Israeli plans to confiscate village land for settlement development. Soon after, Israeli soldiers and settlers from two nearby settlements, Yitzhar and Bracha, entered the village. As the Associated Press reports, Burin has frequently been the target of settler violence from the nearby settlements. After the soldiers and settlers arrived at the scene, clashes subsequently broke out. The AFP reports that the Israeli soldiers “used tear gas and violence” to remove the protesters and settlers from the encampment. Haaretz reports that live ammunition was fired into the air, though the IDF denies this. In the end, five Palestinians and one settler were arrested.

The IDF has closed off the area and is preventing anyone from re-entering al-Manatir, but news is still coming in via Twitter. Now is the time to spread the word. Here's what you can do:

1. If you're on Twitter, retweet news coming in from #AlManatir

2. Share these articles:

  1. “Clashes in West Bank village after Palestinians erect protest camp,” Jack Khoury, Gili Cohen and the Associated Press, February 2, 2013, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/clashes-in-west-bank-villa...
  2. “Palestinians evicted from West Bank protest camp,” AFP, February 2, 2013, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hBA5zNgSOF1HeGVXbjgQW...
  3. “Israeli forces dismantle Palestinian encampment, clash with activists,” Associated Press, February 2, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israeli-forces-dismantle...

WaPo: Ask the Public an Unbiased Question on Drone Strikes

A key reason many in Congress haven't spoken up against the drone strike policy is that many believe the public overwhelmingly supports the policy. A key reason many believe the public overwhelmingly supports the drone strike policy is that the Washington Post said so in February 2012.

But the question the Washington Post asked in its February 2012 poll, and the way the Post reported it, were highly misleading. And in the last year, a lot of criticism of the drone strike policy has appeared in mainstream press that hadn't appeared before.

As the Senate considers the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA, where he will oversee CIA drone strikes, urge the Washington Post to ask the public an unbiased question on drone strikes.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/wapo-drones-poll

In February 2012, under the headline, "Poll finds broad support for Obama's counterterrorism policies," the Washington Post reported that "The Post-ABC News poll found that 83 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s drone policy." [1] This Post report had the effect of convincing many people that the drone strike policy was overwhelmingly popular. But here is the question that was actually asked: [2]

… thinking about the following decisions of the Obama administration, please tell me whether you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove ... c. The use of unmanned, "drone" aircraft against terrorist suspects overseas

The Post assumed there was no meaningful distinction between current policy and targeting "terrorist suspects." That was the "official story" the Administration had just put out.

No U.S. Drone Strikes in Mali Without Congressional Approval

France has undertaken a major military campaign in Mali. U.S. officials are talking about the possibility of supporting the French military campaign with U.S. drone strikes.

Congress hasn't authorized US military intervention in Mali. In particular, Congress hasn't authorized U.S. drone strikes in Mali.

Urge your Representative and Senators to publicly insist that the Administration obtain explicit Congressional authorization before conducting drone strikes in Mali.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/mali-drones

The Washington Post reports: [1]

[A senior U.S.] official said contingency plans for the use of armed drones were already in place and are being reevaluated.

Without explicit Congressional authorization, the only U.S. legal authority the Administration could claim for conducting drone strikes in Mali is the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed after the September 11 attacks. This is the legal authority the Administration has invoked for conducting drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The invocation of the 2001 AUMF to justify drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia is already very controversial. The invocation of the 2001 AUMF to justify drone strikes in Mali should be even more controversial.

Indeed, on November 1, the Washington Post editorial board, which supports the drone strike policy overall, and believes that US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen are legal overall, wrote: [2]

Senators: Question Brennan and Other Admin Nominees on Drone Policy!

President Obama has announced his new national security team: Chuck Hagel at Defense, John Kerry at State, John Brennan at the CIA. Each of these officials will have a say in whether U.S. drone strike policy will be further entrenched than it is today, or whether U.S. drone strike policy will become more transparent and accountable, and be brought into full compliance with U.S. and international law.

Each of these nominees must face a confirmation hearing in the Senate. When the President's nominees appear before the Senate, they should answer questions from Senators about current drone strike policy, and that should happen in open session, so the questions and answers can be reported in the media, and the public can exercise its right to know.

Sign our petition to the President and the Senate here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/cia-head-drones

In an editorial, the Washington Post called for the CIA's removal from the drone strike program. [1] Human Rights Watch has been calling for the CIA to be removed from the drone strike program for a year, noting that the CIA is less transparent than the U.S. military and less accountable to U.S. and international law, and that there is no program to compensate civilian victims of CIA paramilitary actions. [2]

The Post has also reported that the Administration has made moves to institutionalize the current program, suggesting the program could be at its midpoint—in other words, the program could go on for another ten years. [3]

Call Senators in Support of Chuck Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense

Diplomacy advocate and war skeptic Chuck Hagel is reported to be President Obama's first choice for Secretary of Defense. Hagel would work to end the war in Afghanistan, avoid war with Iran, and cut the Pentagon budget. Right-wing neocons are organizing a smear campaign to try to scuttle the nomination. Urge your Senators to speak up for Chuck Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense.

There is a petition at MoveOn here:

Back Obama in Tapping Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense
http://signon.org/sign/back-obama-in-tapping-1

You can find phone numbers for your Senators here. If you can't get through to your Senator's DC office, try a local office in your state. All those numbers are given here:
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/

A suggested message is:
"I urge you to publicly support Chuck Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense, and to speak out against the right-wing attacks on Senator Hagel."

You can report your calls to MoveOn here:

http://www.signon.org/tools/call.html

Thanks for taking action! We've never been this close to having someone like Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense! Let's keep up the pressure!

Don't Let Neocons "Swift Boat" Obama's War-Skeptic Pick for Defense Secretary

The Obama-hating Neocon Right is trying to "Swift Boat" the expected nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense by making up a fantasy scare story that Hagel—a former U.S. Senator from Nebraska, long-respected moderate and thoughtful voice on foreign policy, and decorated Vietnam combat veteran—is "anti-Israel."

The real reason the neocons hate Hagel is that he's a war-skeptic and a diplomacy advocate. As a Senator, he voted for the Iraq war. But then he became an early and harsh critic of the war and called for it to end. Hagel was an early advocate of diplomatic engagement with Iran, has criticized discussion of a military strike by either the U.S. or Israel against Iran, and has also backed efforts to bring Iran to the table for talks on future peace in Afghanistan. Hagel has described the Pentagon as "bloated" and has said "the Pentagon needs to be pared down."

We deserve a war-skeptic and diplomacy advocate as Defense Secretary. Americans voted against the foreign policy of the neocons in 2008 and 2012. But the neocons are still using their insider influence and slander tactics to try to dominate policy.

We cannot stand idly by as the neocons stage a coup of our foreign policy. All of us opposed to these tactics, including the President's support base of liberal Democrats, must make our voices heard. That's why we've set up a petition on MoveOn's community petition site, SignOn, against the Swift Boat campaign on Chuck Hagel. Will you help us move this petition forward, so more MoveOn members will see it? You can sign and share the petition here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/hagel-nomination

Just Foreign Policy's Policy Director Robert Naiman explained what's at stake in this fight in his blog on Huffington Post. You can read and share that here:

J Street Pushes Back on Neocon Bid to "Swift Boat" Chuck Hagel Nomination as Defense Secretary
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/j-street-chuck-hagel_b_23329...

Urge the Pope to Call for a Christmas Ceasefire in Afghanistan

In early December 1914, Pope Benedict XV called for a "Christmas Truce" in the First World War. Leaders on all sides were forced to respond to the Pope's call. No formal truce was agreed, but across the trenches of the Western Front many soldiers on all sides observed the Christmas truce the Pope had called for.

Today the war in Afghanistan continues killing Americans and Afghans for no reason. If Pope Benedict XVI - the current Pope - called on Western leaders to announce an offensive ceasefire in Afghanistan for the Christmas holiday, Western leaders would have to respond. If we could stop the war for one day, it would set an important precedent, making it easier to achieve a lasting ceasefire and an end to the war.

Pope Benedict XVI has just inaugurated the use of a Twitter account. The Pope already has a million followers on Twitter, and the fact that he is now on Twitter is in the news. Sign and tweet our petition, and people around the world will see your appeal for the Pope to call for a Christmas ceasefire:

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

We're making our appeal for a ceasefire to the Pope because he is the most prominent and influential Western religious leader, and because of the historical precedent of his predecessor's call for a ceasefire in 1914. If Pope Benedict calls for a ceasefire in Afghanistan, other Western leaders will join his call, and Western governments with troops in Afghanistan will have to respond. Upon becoming Pope in 2005, he said: [1]

End Haiti's Cholera Epidemic with UN Action Now!

The people of Haiti are fighting a deadly cholera epidemic introduced by UN troops that has killed thousands and sickened hundreds of thousands more. [1] Since the UN accidentally caused this catastrophe, it has a special responsibility to help Haitians stamp out killer cholera for good. Press reports have suggested that announcement of a UN plan is possible very soon.

Let's press the UN to make sure it announces decisive action and to build momentum and public attention to make sure the UN and major donor governments follow through on their commitments. We're partnering with Avaaz, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, and other organizations to build momentum for decisive action. You can sign our petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/Oliver_Stone_to_UN_end_Haiti_cholera

Since it began in October 2010, Haiti’s cholera epidemic has killed over 7,700 and brought untold suffering to poor communities. Although doctors, scientists, and even UN Special Envoy Bill Clinton recognize that UN troops brought the epidemic to Haiti, the UN has refused to take responsibility.

According to recent news reports [2], key players – including the Haitian government, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pan-American Health Organization and UNICEF – may soon announce a plan to respond to cholera with medical treatment and water and sanitation infrastructure. This would be an important step in the right direction, but it would be a tentative step, with only a tiny fraction of funding secured so far. At the current pace, thousands more Haitians will die before their communities receive clean water.

We have no time to lose. A spike in cholera cases has been reported after Hurricane Sandy. Together we can save lives and help Haitians finally rid the island of this killer, if we act now. Sign this urgent petition and share it with everyone you know.

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/

WaPo calls for more debate on drone strikes! Let's respond

As you are well aware, there's been a disturbing lack of public debate so far about U.S. policy on drone strikes. Guess what? The Washington Post editorial board agrees. In a new editorial, they say: "the means and objectives of drone attacks — and the Obama administration’s steps toward institutionalizing the system — deserve much more debate than they have attracted during the presidential campaign." [1]

Let's show the Washington Post editorial board we agree with their call for more debate by getting some letters into the Post challenging the drone strike policy. We've tried to make it easy for you by setting up a tool for sending them a letter, together with some suggested talking points. You can find that here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/wapo-drones-lte

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. "Pulling the U.S. drone war out of the shadows," Editorial, Washington Post, November 1, 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/us-drone-war-demands-accountabili...