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What is the Israeli Accountability Campaign?

We are excited to share launch the Israeli Accountability Campaign. The campaign is comprised of three major political demands. To help you make the case for these demands, we've included a set of resources to help you hold a teach-in and to organize a plan of action. Read below to learn more.  

During its attack on Lebanon this summer, Israeli Air Forces struck a building in Qana, Lebanon providing shelter to 63 displaced Lebanese civilians. Initial reports stated that 59 civilians had been killed including 37 children. The youngest of the dead was 10 months old, the eldest was 95 years old.   This is not the first time Israel has attacked Lebanese civilians in Qana. On April 18, 1996, Israel shelled a UN Compound in Qana providing shelter to approximately 800 civilians. The shelling killed 106 civilians, injured hundreds of others and caused severe destruction in the area.

Israel could not have committed these potential war crimes without our U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic support. During Israel's attack on Lebanon from July 12th to August 14th 2006, the U.S expedited arms and fuel shipments to Israel to continue its indiscriminate attack on Lebanese civilians. In 1996, intense US and Israeli political pressure shelved the UN investigation of the Qana massacre that found that although “while the possibility cannot be ruled out completely it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors.” Had the Clinton Administration held Israel to account for its war crimes in 1996, presumably, Israel would have exercised greater restraint and respect for international laws of war in its most recent attack on Lebanon.

Our vision is to use our agency as U.S. citizens and taxpayers to hold Israel accountable by challenging U.S. foreign policy towards Israel. In particular, the Israeli Accountability Campaign ("campaign”) seeks to use the pending law suit against Moshe Ya'alon as a tool to educate and mobilize legal and general communities nationally and to demand that the Bush Administration hold Israel accountable for its war crimes past and present.

The demands of the campaign are three-fold:
1. The survivors of Qana 1996 be compensated for wrongful death and damage done to their lands and livelihoods;
2. The survivors of Qana 2006 be compensated for wrongful death and damage done to their lands and livelihoods; and
3. Israel finance an international clean up of the cluster bombs.

To make these demands we suggest that you hold a teach-in on your campus or in your community. At this teach-in we suggest that:
1. Show a 28-minute DVD, “Universal Justice” on the ongoing effort to hold Israel legally accountable in third party jurisdictions in general and US federal courts in particular;
2. Distribute fact sheets on massacres in Qana in 1996 and 2006; and
3. To host a speaker on the topic i.e., an international law expert, a survivor, a lawyer on the case.

After the teach-in, we suggest that you create an Action Plan. Possibilities for action include:
1. Organizing a letter-writing campaign to your members of Congress asking them to investigate the illegal use of American-made arms by Israel pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and supporting Senator Diane Feinstein’s (D-CA) attempt to ban federal funding for cluster bombs; 
2. Organizing a postcard drive addressed to Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, demanding compensation for Qana (‘96 and ‘06) survivors and removal of all cluster bombs;
3. Coordinating a divestment campaign from US-based corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and aggression and/or a comprehensive divestment campaign from Israel.

To help you organize a teach-in and to take action, we’ve created and enclosed the following resources for your use:
1) Fact sheets
2) 75 postcards (more can be sent upon request) Please return these to the US Campaign who will deliver them to Secretary Rice on April 18th, 2007—the 11th anniversary of the 1996 Qana massacre.
3) A sample letter to be written to your Congressional representative.
4) DVD, Universal Justice, on holding Israel accountable in third party jurisdictions
5) Copies of relevant news articles published since December 2005; and 
6) A list of available speakers who can speak on these topics upon request

For those activists or audience members who would like to be involved into the future as well as for addressing any concerns—they can write to Noura Erakat, National Grassroots Organizer/ Legal Advocate at the US Campaign at legal@endtheoccupation.org or
(202) 332-0994.

We look forward to getting report backs on how your local Campaign develops. Please send Noura, legal@endtheoccupation.org, a note about your activities and let us know whether you hosted a teach-in, distributed the postcards, organized a letter writing campaign, and/or started a divestment campaign.

To download the PDF version of this letter, click here.