We Won on Cluster Bombs!

December 26th, 2007

Click here to listen to Josh Ruebner, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator of the US Campaign, discussing this important victory on WBAI (Pacifica New York).

During the past five years, your grassroots advocacy has played a key role in affecting some important policy developments.For example:

* In 2004, we worked with friendly Senate offices to help block a resolution condemning the International Court of Justice for ruling that Israel’s wall is illegal.

* In 2006, we formed an unprecedented coalition of more than 400 U.S.-based organizations to advocate against the imposition of sanctions against Palestinian civilians after Hamas’ legislative win.The final version of the so-called Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act stripped out the draconian sanctions that we protested against so effectively.

Because our victories on Capitol Hill are few and far between, however, it’s important for us to take time to celebrate them and to reaffirm the power of our collective action to change policy even if our ultimate goal is still far away.

That’s why we’re thrilled to let you know that after one and a half years of advocating for the restriction of the export of cluster bombs, we’ve achieved our goal!

Today President Bush signed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for FY2008, which included the Foreign Operations Bill.Section 646(b) of the Foreign Operations Bill reads:

“During the current fiscal year, no military assistance shall be furnished for cluster munitions, no defense export license for cluster munitions may be issued, and no cluster munitions or cluster munitions technology shall be sold or transferred, unless-

(1) the submunitions of the cluster munitions have a 99 percent or higher tested rate; and

(2) the agreement applicable to the assistance, transfer, or sale of the cluster munitions or cluster munitions technology specifies that the cluster munitions will only be used against clearly defined military targets and will not be used where civilians are known to be present.”

Ever since Israel saturated Lebanese civilian areas with U.S.-made cluster bombs in the final days of last summer’s war—resulting in civilian casualties to this day—the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has joined other organizations in calling for restrictions on their export.

We’ve participated in days of action, encouraged our Congressional District Coordinators to form delegations to meet with their Members of Congress to discuss this issue, and on June 11—one day after our mobilization on Capitol Hill protesting 40 years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip—we sent more than 300 citizens from 30 states to Capitol Hill to lobby in person on this and other issues.

Our collective efforts have paid off and we’re thrilled that the United States won’t be exporting cluster munitions to Israel or any other country to be used against civilian targets again!