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Help Stop Attacks on Civil Rights Activists

by Mike Coogan, Legislative Coordinator
February 28th, 2012

Three years ago this week, a colleague and I were shot at and nearly killed by the Israeli military with a U.S.-supplied high-velocity tear-gas projectile.   Had the canister been fired a few inches to the left, it would have done to one of us what it has done to so many Palestinian, Egyptian, Bahraini and U.S. civilians: cause severe, often permanently debilitating injuries, or death.

Weekly Demonstration in Bi'lin
Above: Palestinian demonstrators in Bi'lin marching against Israeli land confiscation.

Two weeks after we were targeted in the West Bank village of Niílin, Tristan Anderson, a 37-year-old from California was shot with a high-velocity tear-gas canister while filming a Palestinian protest against Israelís land expropriation.  Tristan spent the next fifteen months in the hospital before being transferred back to the United States.  He remains paralyzed on the left side and blind in his right eye. 

In December of last year, Mustafa Tamimi, a 28-year-old from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh was shot and killed by the Israeli military  at close range with a U.S.-supplied tear gas canister.

Two siblings from the West Bank village of Biílin, Jawaher and her brother Bassem, were both killed by tear gas during  demonstrations against land theft and resource confiscation by Israelís illegal settlement complex.

Israeli military firing tear gas and rubber bullets at civil rights activists in Bi'lin
Above: Minutes after the photo above was taken, the Israeli military began firing tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators.

Israel has shown a clear pattern of misusing U.S.-supplied tear gas against Palestinian and U.S. civilians, so far, with total impunity.  As U.S. taxpayers, we have the means and moral obligation to demand accountability, especially when these weapons are being used against people demonstrating for freedom, equality, and basic human rights.

In the recently passed 2012 budget, the Secretary of State is required to certify within 90 days that Middle Eastern countries are not misusing U.S. supplied tear gas against civilians and nonviolent demonstrators.

With your help, we can ensure that Members of Congress and the Secretary of State hold Israel accountable for the lethal and ongoing misuse of U.S.-supplied high-velocity tear-gas projectiles.

Send this letter to your Members of Congress to ensure that Israel, along with Egypt and Bahrain, are held accountable for grave violations of U.S. laws and fundamental human rights committed with these deadly high-velocity tear gas canisters. 

Before you send the letter, please consider also quickly calling your Members of Congress (their number will be displayed right next to the letter) to let them know how important this issue is to you with the suggested talking points provided here.

Members of Congress ask what people are calling about, so your calls will help increase the pressure, get a conversation started in the office about our request, and make our efforts more effective.

Help stop Israel's misuse of U.S. supplied tear gas against civilians, call and write your Members of Congress today.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to press our government to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing attacks against Palestinian civil rights activists with high-velocity tear gas canisters.