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December "Washington Wednesday" Action Alert

CAT in Congress, More $ for Israel, Winter Recess Meetings, Update
December 7th, 2005

Bring the Campaign Against Caterpillar to Congress

Click here to ask your Members of Congress not to take money from Caterpillar’s political action committee.

Caterpillar profits from Israel’s human rights violations of Palestinians by selling bulldozers to the Israeli army through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.  Israel uses these bulldozers to injure and kill civilians, destroy houses, agriculture, and infrastructure, and build illegal settlements and its illegal Wall in the West Bank.

Since 1998, Caterpillar’s political action committee (PAC) has given more than $1 million to candidates for Congress.  To find out if and how much money your Members of Congress have received from Caterpillar, click here.

Contact your Members of Congress and ask them not to take money from companies, such as Caterpillar, which profit from human rights abuses, by clicking here

Israel's Request for Supplemental Aid for Gaza "Disengagement"

Click here to tell your Members of Congress to vote against additional money for Israel.

In July 2005, Israel requested $2.2 billion from the United States in supplemental aid to pay for its unilateral “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip and for “development” of the Negev and Galilee.  Click here for background information on the aid request and for a fact sheet on the “disengagement”.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and massive social service cuts proposed by Congress, Israel lowered its request to $1.2 billion in additional aid to be used for “developing” the Negev and Galilee.  The US Campaign continues to oppose this aid request because the “development” of these areas will be carried out in a discriminatory way against Palestinian citizens of Israel; because Israel still retains effective military control of the Gaza Strip; and because the federal government should be providing aid to its own displaced and marginalized citizens affected by Katrina and not “rewarding” a country for dismantling settlements which were illegal in the first place.

This aid request has not yet been introduced in either the House or the Senate, but according to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), "Next year, hopefully it will get serious consideration."  To date, the US Campaign and its supporters have generated nearly 3,000 letters to Members of Congress and the Bush Administration opposing this aid. 

More grassroots opposition to this funding request is critical—please take a moment and send a letter today!  Please be sure to personalize your letter to make it more effective.  

Meet with Your Members of Congress During Winter Recess

Schedule a meeting with your Member of Congress to talk about these issues—Israel’s request for additional aid and Caterpillar political action committee contributions—during the Congressional Winter Recess.  Getting together a delegation of like-minded constituents to meet with your Member of Congress is an extremely important way of making your voice heard and influencing policy.   

The House is hoping to end its session by Dec. 16. and the Senate by Dec. 18.  Members of Congress usually don’t reconvene in Washington until the State of the Union, which was on Feb. 2 last year. In all likelihood, if you put in a request for a meeting for late December or the first two-three weeks of January, there’s a good chance that your Members of Congress will be home.

Activists in more than two dozen Congressional districts are forming delegations to meet with their Members of Congress.  Are you interested in joining them or forming a delegation of your own?  Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before—the US Campaign has organizing tools and resources to help you form a delegation and get a meeting.  We’ll walk you through the process.  Just fill out this brief on-line form or contact Josh Ruebner, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator, at congress@endtheoccupation.org or 202-543-1778.  Click here for more information.

Update: House Passes Resolution on UN & Israel

On Tuesday, December 6, the House passed H.Res.438, “Urging member states of the United Nations to stop supporting resolutions that unfairly castigate Israel and to promote within the United Nations a more balanced and constructive approach to resolving conflict in the Middle East”, by a vote of 400-1 (Roll Call #609).

This resolution is part of an ongoing attempt by Congress to undermine the role of the UN in facilitating a just peace and exempt Israel from the requirements of UN resolutions, human rights standards, and international law. Unfortunately, the US Campaign learned of this vote as it was happening and was unable to mobilize for it.