Can you feel the change in the air? We can. In other words, President Obama agrees with one
of our key post-ceasefire demands: Israel must comply with UN Security Council
Resolution 1860, which calls for “unimpeded provision and distribution
throughout Gaza of humanitarian
assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment,” and
Israel must end its blockade of the Gaza Strip, an illegal form of collective
punishment of the 1.5 million Palestinian residents who live there.
Last Thursday, at the State Department, President Obama introduced former Sen.
George Mitchell as his Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and stated:
“Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food,
clean water, and basic medical care, and who've faced suffocating poverty for
far too long. Now we must extend a hand of opportunity to those who seek peace.
As part of a lasting cease-fire, Gaza's border crossings should be open to allow
the flow of aid and commerce.”
To watch the video of President Obama’s remarks (fast-forward to 32:00), click on the video below. To read the transcript, click
Friday, Rep. John Olver and six other Representatives circulated a “Dear
Colleague” letter addressed to Secretary of State Clinton expressing their “deep concern for the humanitarian situation in the Gaza
Strip and to request immediate action by the United States to address this
crisis. With the ceasefire now in effect, it is critical that the United States
play a leading role in alleviating the suffering of civilians in Gaza and we
respectfully urge your assistance in this task.” (The full text of the letter is below.)
1. Contact President Obama at 202-456-1111 or send him an email by clicking here
to thank him for his support for unimpeded humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip and for lifting Israel’s siege.
However, all of our
demands have not yet been met.
Also, be sure to tell President Obama that Israel must pay reparations for
killing more than 1,300 Palestinians and injuring more than 5,000 during its
three week war on the occupied Gaza Strip. Israel also must be held
accountable for destroying an estimated 4,000 buildings and should pay for the
estimated $2 billion in damages.
And tell President Obama that Israel
must be held accountable for its misuse of U.S.
weapons to kill and injure Palestinian civilians and to target Palestinian
civilian infrastructure. Rep.
Dennis Kucinich already has requested the State Department to investigate Israel’s
violations of the Arms Export Control Act. Ask President Obama to make sure
this investigation is complete and accurate and that Israel
is sanctioned by ending U.S.
military aid as a consequence of its violations of this law.
2. Contact your Representative before
noon on Tuesday at 202-224-3121
and ask her/him to “sign on” to Rep. Olver’s “Dear Colleague” letter on U.S. humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.
It’s important that you contact your Representative
as soon as possible because the letter is closing for signatures by the
deadline mentioned above. Call your
Representative, identify yourself as a concerned constituent, ask her/him to
“sign on” to the letter, and state why you feel it is the responsibility of the
to provide humanitarian relief to Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip.
And for more take action ideas:
3. Sign our open letter to
President Obama, “We Need a Change in Israel/Palestine Policy.”
4. Organize in your community to tell President Obama,
“Yes We Can…End Military Aid to Israel.”
Israel’s war and siege on the occupied Gaza Strip would
not have been possible without the military and diplomatic support of the United States.
We need to have sustained, long-term organizing to end military aid to Israel to
prevent future massacres from taking place. Sign up today as
a volunteer organizer and we’ll send you an organizing packet with postcards,
petitions, and fact sheets. To receive your organizing packet, click here. 5. Register
for our Feb. 1-2 Grassroots
Advocacy Training/Lobby Day in Washington,
DC before noon Eastern on
Rep. Olver “Dear Colleague” Letter
Support Humanitarian Assistance for
Urge Secretary of State Clinton to
support immediate humanitarian assistance for Gaza
rest of the world, we gladly welcomed the news of a ceasefire in Gaza on January 18.
However, there remains a dire humanitarian situation that must be immediately
addressed. We believe that it is in the United States’ interest to play a leading role
in alleviating the human suffering in Gaza.
The armed conflict in Gaza resulted
in widespread destruction to homes and to public and commercial infrastructure
Fuel shortages have cut electricity, limiting the ability of Gaza’s hospitals to operate. Medical
supplies are in short supply and hospitals are understaffed. The
humanitarian supplies and food that do reach civilians only meet a small
percentage of the real need. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) estimates financial needs of
nearly $350 million just to
rebuild their own infrastructure and continue providing essential public
services to Palestinian refugees in Gaza.
join us in writing to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to request that the United States lead the international effort to
provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza.
The United States
has long been a leader on humanitarian issues and we should seize this
opportunity to alleviate the suffering of civilians and restore our historic
moral standing among the community of nations.
CAPPS DAVID PRICE
OLVER KEITH ELLISON
Congress Member of Congress
FARR MAURICE HINCHEY
Congress Member of
Member of Congress
Dear Secretary Clinton:
First, we would like to congratulate you on being sworn in as our
nation’s 67th Secretary of State. We are very hopeful that
this new era in American foreign policy upon which we embark can advance the
cause of peace in the Middle East and beyond.
As strong supporters of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples,
we are writing to express our deep concern for the humanitarian situation in
the Gaza Strip and to request immediate action by the United States
to address this crisis. With the ceasefire now in effect, it is critical
that the United States play
a leading role in alleviating the suffering of civilians in Gaza and we respectfully urge your assistance
in this task.
As you know, the situation on the ground is dire. The flow
of humanitarian goods into the Gaza Strip is limited to food and
medicine. Yet there exists a real need to allow for the importation of
construction materials and fuel, which require the opening of crossings into Gaza. For example,
only the Karni Crossing has the capacity for transporting large cargo, such as
cement, but it remains closed.
In addition, in order to rebuild civilian infrastructure in Gaza the international
community is going to have to make significant monetary contributions.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near
East (UNRWA) estimates financial needs of nearly $350 million just to rebuild their own
infrastructure and continue providing essential services to the Palestinians in
We also remain especially concerned about the desperate condition
of medical services in Gaza.
Although Israel has begun to
allow limited medical supplies into Gaza,
the need far outweighs the availability while hospitals remain understaffed and
ill-supplied. One of the most crucial steps that needs to be taken is for
Israel to allow critically
ill patients to be transported out of Gaza and
into Israel, the West Bank
where they may receive necessary medical care. We therefore urge you to
express this concern directly to Israeli government officials.
addition to the several thousand individuals who were physically injured during
the recent military operations, we can expect to see a dramatic increase in the
number of individuals suffering from psychological trauma. In order to
help the population to begin rebuilding, we will need to further ensure that
funds are used to provide adequate mental health services in Gaza.
to address this humanitarian emergency has the potential to produce a crisis of
even more unspeakable proportions. We therefore respectfully request that
the State Department release emergency funds to UNRWA for reconstruction and
humanitarian assistance. We believe the State Department can make funds
available through accounts such as Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance
(ERMA) and urge you to facilitate the transfer of funds as soon as possible.
We look forward to maintaining a productive and ongoing dialogue
with the State Department and the Obama Administration regarding the United States response to the humanitarian
crisis in Gaza.
Toward that end we respectfully request that you or your staff share with us
the actions taken to date and the strategy you will pursue to address the
humanitarian crisis within14 days.
Finally, we know that addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
as a whole is a top priority of the Obama Administration and we applaud
President Obama and you for your early and public commitment to meet this
challenge. We also believe that the naming of former Senator George
Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East
We believe the security interests of both Israel
and the United States will
be greatly enhanced by the establishment of a lasting peace between Israelis
and Palestinians, and that United
States involvement is indispensable in
achieving that goal. We stand ready to work with you as the
Administration furthers these efforts.