Washington, DC -- More than 500 local and national
organizations have signed on to an open letter urging President Obama
to hold Israel accountable for its violations of the Arms Export
Control Act and not include military aid to Israel in his upcoming
FY2010 budget request.
The letter, organized by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation,
opposes the $2.775 billion earmark for military aid to Israel that the
President is expected to include in his upcoming budget request. During
Israel's December-January war on the occupied Gaza Strip, Israel
misused U.S. weapons to kill more than 1,300 Palestinians, injure more
than 5,000, and destroy an estimated $2 billion in civilian
infrastructure. The open letter originally appeared in the inaugural
edition of Congressional Quarterly and is also available online here.
According to Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director of the US
Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, "President Obama's welcome
promise of budgetary accountability should extend to U.S. foreign aid
programs, first and foremost of which is military aid to Israel. After
killing more than 1,300 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in December and
January with U.S. weapons, Israel must be held accountable for its
violations of Arms Export Control Act. President Obama should not
request additional weapons for Israel to ensure that U.S. policy in no
way supports Israel's human rights abuses of Palestinians."
This open letter is part of a growing movement to hold Israel
accountable for its misuse of U.S. weapons to commit human rights
abuses against Palestinians. In January, Rep. Dennis Kucinich
requested the State Department to investigate Israel's violations of
the Arms Export Control Act. This month, after visiting the occupied
Gaza Strip, Rep. Brian Baird called for a reassessment of U.S. military
aid to Israel.
Earlier this month, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
organized a Capitol Hill policy briefing, entitled "Armed and
Dangerous: Weapons Transfers to Israel during the Bush
Administration". During the briefing, the US Campaign presented its
initial research findings into the impact of Israel's misuse of U.S.
weapons on Palestinian civilians. A video and PowerPoint presentation
of the briefing can be found on-line by clicking here.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a national coalition
of more than 250 organizations working to change to U.S. policy toward
Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and
equality. For more information about the US Campaign, please click here.