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ACTION ALERT: Stop Israel’s Attacks on Gaza & Lebanon

July 13th, 2006

BACKGROUND:Israel is using weapons supplied by the United States to target Palestinian & Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon in violation of the US Arms Export Control Act and the Geneva Conventions.

* On July 12th, Israel killed 23 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with missiles fired from aircraft and shells fired from tanks. Israel killed 9 members of one family in a missile strike on a house near Gaza City.

* On July 12th, Israel launched a massive invasion of Lebanon.Israeli aircraft fired missiles targeting civilian infrastructure, including bridges, roads, a mosque, a community center, and the Beirut International Airport, and the Israeli navy is blockading Lebanon’s ports.Israel has killed at least 50 Lebanese civilians and injured more than 100, including entire Lebanese families of 10 and 7 people killed in the villages of Dweir and Baflay.

* On June 27th, Israel launched a massive invasion of the Gaza Strip.Israeli aircraft fired missiles targeting civilian infrastructure.In illegal acts of collective punishment, Israel demolished three key bridges, the Gaza Strip’s only electricity generation plant, and part of a university, thereby endangering Palestinian human rights to food, water, health, electricity, education, and freedom of movement.Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted that the purpose of these measures is to “apply pressure” to the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

* On June 20th, Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an extrajudicial assassination attempt on a road between Jabalya and Gaza City.The missile missed its intended target and killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15.

* On June 13th, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a van in an extrajudicial assassination of two Palestinians in Gaza City.A second barrage of missiles fired shortly afterward killed nine Palestinian bystanders.

* On June 9th, Israel shelled a beach in Beit Lahiya killing 8 civilians and injuring 32.At the site of the killing, Human Rights Watch found evidence of a 155mm artillery shell consistent with those fired from an Israeli M-109 Self-Propelled Artillery.

Israel’s human rights violations in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon are being committed with US weapons financed by US tax dollars:

The Israeli air force fighter squadrons are composed of Lockheed Martin F-16I Fighting Falcons and Boeing F-15Is, which fire US-manufactured AMRAAM, Sidewinder, and Sparrow missiles.From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel at least $1.062 billion of spare parts, engines, and missiles for its F-15 and F-16 fighter planes.

From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to the Israeli navy more than $572 million worth of patrol boat, ship, and submarine components and spare parts, torpedoes, and sonar equipment.

From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel more than $348 million worth of tanks, components, and spare parts.

From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel $69,163 worth of M-109 spare parts and 155mm artillery shells.

(Statistics for US weapons licensed to Israel are compiled from the State Department’s annual report to Congress pursuant to Sec. 655 of the Foreign Assistance Act.For more information, click here: http://pmddtc.state.gov/)

Israel’s summer of killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is a clear reminder that Israel remains the occupying power of the Gaza Strip despite last year’s “unilateral disengagement”.Living under military occupation, the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are “protected persons” under the terms of the Geneva Conventions.Israel’s targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon is a violation of the Geneva Conventions and constitutes war crimes.

In addition, by using US-supplied weapons to commit these atrocities, Israel is violating the terms of the US Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act.The Arms Export Control Act restricts the use of US weapons to legitimate self-defense and internal policing; US weapons cannot be used to attack civilians in offensive operations.The Foreign Assistance Act prohibits US aid of any kind to a country with a pattern of gross human rights violations.

TAKE ACTION: Hold Israel to account for its killing of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

1. Contact the White House, State Department, and your Members of Congress to demand that Israel is held accountable for its violations of the US Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act and urge that military aid to Israel be cut off as required by law.Click here to send an email: http://www.salsalabs.com/dia/organizationsORG/uscampaign/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=4460

2. Write a letter to the editor or op-ed for your local newspaper and call your local talk radio stations to protest Israel’s atrocities in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and highlight US support for these actions. For contact information for your local media, click here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/

Below is a template for a letter to the editor:

Letters to the editor should be short, punchy, and clear.  They MUST refer to actual coverage of that particular paper, either naming a particular article or referring to trends (as below).  Be sure the text of the letter does in fact respond to the particular article or trend you reference. Be sure to include full name, address, contact phone numbers and (for some, not for others) name of the organization.

BE SURE THAT LETTERS ARE ALL DIFFERENT, AND DO NOT LOOK LIKE CARBON COPIES OF EACH OTHER!

TEMPLATE:  USE THIS AS A GUIDE, NOT A CARBON COPY!

*  Ask WHY DOESN'T [NAME THE NEWSPAPER]  ACKNOWLEDGE or DOWNPLAYS or MINIMIZES THE FACT THAT or DOES NOT EMPHASIZE THAT
       a)  ISRAEL IS ATTACKING CIVILIANS or
       b)  ISRAEL IS DESTROYING NON-MILITARY INFRASTRUCTURE or
       c)  ISRAEL'S RESPONSE IS DISPROPORTIONATE 

*  Add YOUR READERS SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING
       a)  THAT THE VICTIMS INCLUDE X, AGE XX, Y, AGE XX, AND Z, AGE XX or
       b)  THAT DESTROYING THE ELECTRICAL PLANT MEANS
             1) 860,000 CIVILIANS WITHOUT POWER, MANY WITHOUT WATER or
             2)  HOSPITALS DEPENDING ON LAST WEEK OF FUEL FOR GENERATORS or
             3)  THE UN SAYS GAZA FACES A HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE or
             4)  ISRAEL AND U.S. HAD ALREADY IMPOSED A SEVERE BOYCOTT ON GAZA CAUSING HUGE HUMANITARIAN CRISES

* EXPRESS CONCERN FOR ISRAELI VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND THE UNCRITICAL NATURE OF U.S. SUPPORT FOR THOSE VIOLATIONS. 

* ASK [THE NEWSPAPER] TO BE MORE BALANCED IN ITS COVERAGE.

MODEL LETTER:

To the Editors:

I am mystified by the failure of the mainstream media to acknowledge that Israeli military actions in the Gaza and southern Lebanon are targeting civilians and other non-military targets.  The destruction being wrought on the Palestinian people, and now the Lebanese, has largely been ignored while all attacks - whether on soldiers or civilians - carried out by a Palestinian militant receives significant attention.        

The silence of the vast majority of the mainstream media and political leadership in the USA regarding Israel's actions and the blind-eye taken toward Israel's continual failure to respect the United Nations' resolutions to withdraw from the Occupied Territories, makes a mockery of any concern regarding human rights and international law.

I ask that [THE NAME OF NEWSPAPER] provide more balanced coverage of the situation in Palestine, and offer a forum for legitimate debate on the issues at hand.  Years after an atrocity, the people of the world look at themselves and ask '…why were we silent?'  It is not too late to preempt that question.

Sincerely,

3. Make a donation to support humanitarian efforts to reprovision the Gaza Strip with much-needed medical supplies for Palestinian children. The Middle East Children’s Alliance and Grassroots International, member organizations of the US Campaign, are accepting tax-deductible donations to send medical supplies.Click here to donate: http://www.mecaforpeace.org/GazaMeds.html or http://www.grassrootsonline.org

4. Support the efforts of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to build a national movement to challenge US support for Israel’s human rights violations.Click here to donate to our summer fundraising drive: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1221