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Call on U.S. to Condemn Israeli Extra-Judicial Killing Policy

April 20th, 2004


US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Action Alert 
Call on U.S. to Condemn Israeli Extra-Judicial Killing Policy

START DATE: April 20, 2004
END DATE: To be determined

TAKE ACTION:

Contact the White House, State Department and your Members of Congress and demand that they condemn Israel's policy of extra-judicial killings as a violation of domestic and international law.

Phone and fax numbers for your Members of Congress can be found at the US Campaign’s Congressional Report Card: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=59. Unless indicated otherwise, all numbers begin with (202)22.

To send an email to your Members of Congress, visit:
http://www.cflweb.org/congress_merge_.htm

White House: phone 202-456-1111, fax 202-456-2461,
president@whitehouse.gov

State Department: phone 202-647-6575, http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_secretary.html

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Israel's extra-judicial killings of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi (April 17) and former leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (March 21) are two high-profile examples of this policy, which violates U.S. and international law.

 

According to the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem), from the outbreak of the current Palestinian uprising against Israeli military occupation on September 29, 2000 through March 10, 2004, Israel has extra-judicially killed at least 135 Palestinians. In the course of these assassinations, 90 Palestinian bystanders were also killed.

TALKING POINTS:

* Extra-judicial killings of any type or for any reason, including that of security, are strictly forbidden by international law. Article 3(I) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 "prohibits at any time and in any place" (a) "violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds" and (d) "the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people."

* Many Israeli extra-judicial killings, including those of Yassin and Rantisi, are carried out with Apache helicopter gunships and other weapons made in the United States and given to Israel at the expense of the American tax-payer. Israel's use of these weapons in contravention of international law also violates U.S. law.

The Arms Export Control Act (PL 90-829) limits the use of weapons provided by the United States to foreign countries to acts of "legitimate self-defense" or for "internal security."

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (PL 87-195), Section 116, states that "No assistance may be provided under this part to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country."

* President Bush's embrace of Israel's plan to unilaterally disengage from the Gaza Strip while annexing large swaths of the West Bank and denying the Palestinian right of return gave Israel a green light to continue its policy of extra-judicial killings. In this plan, Section III(3), "Israel reserves for itself the basic right of self-defense, including taking preventive steps as well as responding by using force against threats that will emerge from the Gaza Strip." Israel often defines its policy of extra-judicial killings as a "preventative measure".

* Despite statements to the contrary, there are indications that the Bush Administration had foreknowledge of impending Israeli extra-judicial killings of Hamas leaders. Five days before Israel extra-judicially killed Yassin, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) official Thomas Dailey sent an email to USAID partner organizations stating that "USAID advises deferring travel to Gaza for the next several days." Eight days before Israel extra-judicially killed Rantisi, USAID official Gaby Abboud warned that USAID partner organizations "are strongly recommended to minimize staff travel to Gaza for the coming few days."

* Israel is entitled to act in legitimate self-defense to protect itself from attacks on its civilian population. Any willful targeting of a civilian population is a violation of human rights and international law. However, legitimate acts of self-defense must comply with international law. Extra-judicial killings are violations of international law and must be condemned by our government, especially when these violations are committed with U.S. weapons.


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