What more can I do to stop the genocidal massacre occurring in Gaza today? Write letters, and more letters. Israel can only get away with this macabre slaughter of innocent civilians if the world remains silent.
Today I sent the following three letters.
Dear President Obama,
Your earlier offer to mediate a ceasefire might have been well-intentioned but you should know by now that the U.S. is not viewed by Hamas or the Arab world as a neutral party in this conflict. You cannot support a “right of self-defense” for the military occupier, and condemn the people who have been suffering under a brutal military occupation for 60+ years the right to resist and use self-defense.
The only way Israel will have peace and security is by ending its military occupation. You know that, and most of the community of nations understands that, but the current government of Israel does not.
Regardless of what Congress says about the situation, as commander in chief, I believe you have the authority to do the following:
- Use your bully pulpit and condemn Israel’s attack on the besieged Gaza Strip — the civilians, the hospital and clinics, the schools, the charity centers, the water desalination plant, the Mosques, the homes and the innocent civilians (men, women, children and the elderly).
- Send a US Naval ship to the eastern end of the Mediterranean with a warning to Israel that the U.S. is facilitating access to the Gaza Strip from the Sea to bring humanitarian supplies.
- Notify Al-Sisi of Egypt that the U.S. will not restore diplomatic relations with his country until there is evidence that the Rafah border crossing is open and accessible in both directions.
- Notify Netanyahu of Israel that you are blocking financial aid to Israel until the bombing in Gaza ends, and he issues a statement that there will be no further settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The U.S. has the power to dramatically improve the situation in the Middle East for millions of people if you step outside of the box that Israel and AIPAC have forced you and your predecessors in for many years. This is your final term in office. Be bold. Be courageous. Do the right thing.
Dear Secretary Kerry,
Many people, including myself, believed your peace negotiations between Netanyahu and Abbas were doomed to failure from the start, but I want to thank you for trying. My proposal for reaching an agreement might have been a bit out-of-the-box thinking, but we desperately need creative ideas.
Palestinians have been waiting for 60+ years for the State of Israel to end the military occupation and treat them with respect, dignity and equal rights. The failure of the latest “peace talks” confirmed their belief that Netanyahu and the current leaders in Israel do not want a viable State of Palestine created side-by-side with Israel. They don’t want to acknowledge the injustices that have been hurled on Palestinians for generations.
No one, least of all you, should be surprised that an oppressed population would defend their rights through acts of resistance. Peaceful, nonviolent actions have been the cornerstone of this resistance for many years, but have gone virtually unacknowledged by the West. It appears that Israeli leaders only understand terms of strength and violent resistance.
Surely, your advisers must have forewarned you about the consequences of a failure in the peace negotiations. Netanyahu doesn’t want to see the Palestinians unified. If he can’t win on the diplomatic front, he can prove his strength on the battlefield. Strength and violence are the only messages he values.
As a concerned American who deplores the fact that the U.S. is subsidizing this belligerent occupation to the tune of over $3 billion/year, I urge you to break the impasse by doing the following:
- Call your counterpart in Israel and tell him that the U.S. government will not sit on the sidelines. Israel must understand not only our concern about the escalating violence but, more importantly, the actions we will take to intervene in this humanitarian crisis. Your words thus far have been unhelpful.
- Call former President Carter and seek out his advice. No U.S. President has more knowledge and experience in the Middle East than does Jimmy Carter.
- Shine a light on the atrocities occurring in Gaza by speaking publicly about the failure of the peace talks and condemning this slaughter of innocent civilians. “Never again” means never again will the free world turn its back as innocent civilians are indiscriminately murdered, as is occurring today in Gaza.
Please use your final months in office to show the world that the United States is a moral leader for what is right and just. Be bold. Be courageous. Do the right thing.
Dear Representative Lujan-Grisham,
Thank you for meeting with me and my friends from Gaza, Palestine in your office in March. We appreciated the opportunity to share with you information about the Israeli military occupation that few members of Congress understand.
When Netanyahu launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8, he claimed he was protecting Israeli citizens from Hamas’s rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces spokesman stated in a tweet at the beginning of the operation that “IDF has commenced Operation Protective Edge in Gaza against Hamas, in order to stop the terror Israel’s citizens face on a daily basis.”
Israel cannot bomb its way to peace and security. The only way to end terror in Israel is for that country to end the military occupation that has terrorized 3+ generations of Palestinians for 66 years. With no end of the occupation in sight, it should come as no surprise that the oppressed would resist. Peaceful, nonviolent resistance has been the hallmark of their actions for years, but has largely gone unacknowledged in the West. With the failure of the peace talks, and continued extrajudicial assassinations of Palestinians by Israel, and a suffocating 7-year siege, we should really be asking how the U.S. can play a more constructive role in ending the occupation.
H.Res.657 is not a constructive message, in my opinion. Reaffirming that Israel has the right to defend itself is a ludicrous statement given the fact that Israel is the occupying power over land (the occupied west bank and Gaza) that doesn’t belong to it. The right of self defense belongs to those whose lives and land are being threatened by the occupier. If Israel agrees to end its belligerent occupation, then it will have the right of self-defense if attacked in the future. Here is a primer about the history of the occupation which I have found very helpful in understanding current events.
Please use this opportunity to raise questions about the military occupation with your colleagues in the House. If I can answer any questions, or put you in touch with people who can answer your questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.