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Talking Points on Israel's Attacks on Gaza

November 19th, 2012

November 19, 2012, 10AM

Use these talking points for letters-to-the-editor, op-eds, and interviews for your local newspapers, radio stations, or TV programs.
You can also use these talking points when contacting your elected officials.

For general guidelines on how to write and place an op ed, or write an effective letter to the editor, check out the US Campaign's media tools here.

If you're being interviewed (radio, TV, newspaper): Remember that you don’t need to say everything! Decide on the 2-4 main points that you want to make, and work them into any answer to any question, to make sure you get your point across. If they are editing the piece, you want to make sure whatever goes into what they broadcast is what you wanted most of all. It’s okay to repeat yourself – unless it’s live TV or radio, usually they will only take a few snippets of what you said anyway.

Overall, THREE SUGGESTED POINTS you might focus on:

    1. Gaza is under siege:
This is not a symmetrical fight. The 1.7 million people in Gaza are living in an open-air prison, denied many of their most basic rights, including the rights to adequate food and clean water, housing, and sanitation, by a military superpower enforcing an illegal blockade that the U.N. has deemed to be illegal. Until the Palestinian people are able to exercise their human rights, we cannot expect to see a lasting ceasefire or peace.

    2. U.S. role: American tax-payers are funding Israel’s attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act. We are not funding Hamas. The U.S. must immediately end its complicity in Israel’s gross human rights abuses.

    3. Action: Knowing is not enough. We need to do something – to raise our voices and protest U.S. complicity in these brutal attacks. This is a major opportunity to build your local (or national) efforts, as public outrage grows. Make sure to publicize your activist community and how people can get involved, by challenging the Obama administration and through boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in response to calls for solidarity from Palestinians.

Further information on the above, and more...

Death toll:

Since November 8, Israel has killed at least 93 Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. At least 64 Palestinians killed were civilians, including at least 21 children. (Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, here and here.) In addition, three Israeli civilians were killed by a Palestinian rocket.

The Siege & International Law:

All countries and peoples living under military occupation have the right of self-defense. However, international law forbids the targeting of civilians in hostilities. Moreover, Israel is employing disproportionate force to injure and kill Palestinian civilians and destroy Palestinian infrastructure not in self-defense, but in furtherance of its illegal blockade and siege of the Gaza Strip. In 2011, U.N. human rights experts concluded that Israel’s policies toward the Gaza Strip constituted collective punishment and were a “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” (Source: Reuters.)


* Israel began the violence on November 8, following a two-week period of quiet, when it invaded Gaza. During an exchange of gunfire, Israeli troops shot 13-year-old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa in the abdomen while he was playing soccer. Ahmed died later from his wounds. (Source: Institute for Middle East Understanding and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.)

* On November 12, Palestinian militant groups agreed to a truce if Israel ceased military operations. Israel responded to this offer by engaging in an extrajudicial assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari on November 14, sparking the current round of violence. An Israeli peace activist was negotiating with Jabari a permanent truce between Israel and Palestinian militant groups when he was assassinated. (Source: Institute for Middle East Understanding and Ha’aretz.)

* On November 18, an Israeli airstrike on the crowded residential neighborhood of Naser in Gaza City killed at least 12 people, including at least 10 members of the Al-Dalu family, many of whom were children and women. (Source: Los Angeles Times.)

The U.S. Role:

* The United States is complicit in and responsible for Israel’s grave human rights abuses of Palestinians. The United States provides weapons to Israel at U.S. taxpayer expense. In the 2000s, the United States gave Israel more than 670 million weapons, some of which are being employed now to injure and kill Palestinian civilians. In addition to funding offensive weapons for Israel, the United States is also funding for Israel the Iron Dome anti-missile system. By providing Israel the weapons to both attack Palestinians and shoot down Palestinian rocket fire, the United States is making it virtually cost-free for Israel to escalate its attacks on Palestinians.  (Source: US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, here and here.)

* U.S. diplomacy is contributing to, rather than ending, the violence. The Obama administration is giving Israel a green light to continue its attacks on Palestinians by asserting that Israel is exercising its “right to defend itself.” Rather than arranging for an immediate ceasefire through the U.N., the Obama administration is merely calling for “de-escalating the situation,” which means in effect that Palestinians are being pressured to hold their fire while Israel continues to injure and kill Palestinians at will. (Source: White House.)

* Rather than providing Israel with the weaponry and diplomatic support to enable its vicious attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the Obama administration should exert diplomatic pressure on Israel for an immediate ceasefire and initiate an investigation into Israel’s misuse of U.S. weapons in violation of U.S. law to injure and kill Palestinian civilians. (Source: US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.)

Taking Action & Building the Movement:

While our short-term efforts are focused on getting Israel to end its attack on the Gaza Strip and achieving a ceasefire, even after this latest round of violence concludes, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip still will be living under Israel’s illegal siege and blockade, military occupation, and apartheid policies. Therefore, our medium- to long-term efforts require us to engage in campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and corporations and institutions which profit from its human rights abuses of all Palestinians as a strategy to ending these policies. At the same time, we must also continue to pressure the United States to end all of its policies, including military aid and diplomatic protection at the U.N., which enable Israel’s continuing human rights abuses of Palestinians. The Obama administration must change U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians to support human rights, international law and equality. Take advantage of the growing public outrage to direct people to how they can get more involved in local and national organizing efforts challenging the occupation and siege.