A Joint Call from United for Peace and Justice & the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

THIS WEEK: Call Congress and the White House Every Day
NEXT WEEK: Emergency Week of Action, Aug. 7-11

On Sunday Israel bombed a residential apartment building in the Lebanese village of Qana, killing 57 civilians, including 37 children (see below for details).

When U.S. soldiers killed civilians in Fallujah and other densely populated areas of Iraq, the Bush Administration claimed the “war on terror” justified such actions. But nothing justifies bombing innocent civilians, no matter who does it or in what country.

It is likely that U.S. weapons provided to Israel with U.S.-taxpayer dollars killed the villagers of Qana. According to The Washington Post, a bomb fragment found at the Qana bombing site read “For use on MK-84, Guided Bomb BSU-37/B.” MK-84s are free-fall unguided bombs; Boeing-produced Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) are attached to MK-84s to convert them into GPS-guided “smart” bombs. Between 2002-2004, the Pentagon notified Congress of impending sales of 6,000 JDAMs and 2,590 MK-84s to Israel through its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program — valued at $346 million.

There is no military solution to the current conflict. The Iraq war hasn’t brought peace or security to the people of Iraq or the U.S. Bombing civilian populations has not and will not bring greater peace or security to the people of Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel.

The only way out of the carnage is an immediate and unconditional cease-fire, followed by multiparty negotiations to resolve the underlying political disputes based on human rights and international law. Most of the world agrees, but the governments of the U.S., Britain, and Israel have so far rejected calls for an immediate cease-fire.

So long as Washington provides military and diplomatic support to Israel’s indiscriminate killing of civilians, a cease-fire will not be possible. It is time for the people of this country to speak up! United for Peace and Justice, along with UFPJ member group the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation, calls on you to take action to press Congress and the White House to back an immediate cease-fire and prevent Israel from using U.S. weapons to commit war crimes.

TAKE ACTION THIS WEEK: Call Congress and the White House

Call your Congressperson and the White House every day this week and demand an immediate cease-fire and a Presidential report to Congress on Israel’s misuse of U.S.-supplied weapons to kill civilians and destroy civilian infrastructure in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act.

Call 202-456-1111 or email comments@whitehouse.gov today to reach the White House! Call Congress at 202-224-3121 for the Capitol switchboard.

TAKE ACTION NEXT WEEK: Emergency Week of Action, Aug. 7-11

During the week of Aug. 7-11, while Members of Congress are home on recess, organize local pressure on your Representatives and Senators to demand an end to support for Israel’s human rights violations, an immediate cease-fire, a just peace, and the end of weapons deliveries to Israel.

Depending on the position of your Members of Congress, local organizers should decide whether a protest, vigil, meeting, or nonviolent civil disobedience is the most effective way to express opposition to U.S. support for Israel’s attacks.

Your delegation should include, if possible, constituents who were evacuated from Lebanon so that they can provide eyewitness accounts.

ISSUES TO RAISE WITH YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:

1. Support Kucinich & Jackson-Lee Resolutions for Immediate Cease-Fire & Just Peace

On July 19, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced H.Con.Res.450, calling for an immediate cease-fire and multi-party negotiations with no preconditions. On July 25, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) introduced H.Res.945, calling for the cessation of targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, secure humanitarian corridors to be opened in Lebanon, an immediate cease-fire, and a comprehensive and just resolution to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Ask your Representatives to sign on as a co-sponsor of these resolutions, or thank them if they’ve already done so. Ask your Senators to introduce a similar resolution in the Senate. Pressure on Congress has already resulted in 34 Representatives signing on to the Kucinich resolution, while 16 have signed on to the Jackson-Lee resolution.

If your Congressperson is a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus, let them know you expect them to support an immediate end to the bombing of Lebanon. And urge them to issue strong public statements calling for an immediate cease-fire and make those statements available to the press.

2. Stop U.S. Support for Israel’s Attacks on Gaza and Lebanon

On July 18 and 20, the Senate and House respectively passed one-sided resolutions expressing unconditional support for Israel’s attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip (S.Res.534 and H.Res.921). Tell your Members of Congress that the United States should be supporting human rights and international law, not expressing support for their violation. If your Representative was one of the few who voted no or abstained, thank them for not supporting this biased resolution.

3. End Weapons Deliveries to Israel Now

Over the past month, Lebanese and Palestinians civilians by the hundreds have been killed by Israel with U.S.-supplied weapons. By using U.S. weapons to kill civilians and destroy civilian infrastructure, Israel is violating the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), which limits the use of U.S. weapons to internal policing and legitimate self-defense. Instead of stopping the flow of weapons as required by law, the United States is rushing jet fuel and satellite- and laser-guided bombs to Israel. Ask your Members of Congress to demand from the President a report on Israel’s violations of the AECA as a first step toward cutting off U.S. weapons to Israel.

Get Voices for Peace Into the Media

Now is the moment to help people see there is an alternative, and getting our voices into the media should be a central part of what we do:

  • For your local newspapers: Send a letter to the editor and encourage others to to do so; try to arrange for an op-ed piece or a guest editorial; if you or someone you know has been personally touched by this crisis, try to get a reporter to do an interview.
  • Call into radio talk shows: You can often talk about anything that’s on your mind and reach thousands of people.
  • If you organize a visit to your member of Congress, invite a reporter to come with you.
  • Be sure to let the media know about any public educational or protest events you are organizing.

BACKGROUND ON QANA AND CIVILIAN DEATHS
Israeli officials are blaming Hezbollah for the Qana deaths, saying Israel cannot be held responsible for killing civilians in “terrorist strongholds.” But according to Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, the most recent strike on Qana “suggests that the Israeli military is treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone… [and] seems to consider anyone left in the area a combatant who is fair game for attack.” According to Human Rights Watch, the consistent failure to distinguish between combatants and civilians is a war crime.

In three weeks the Israeli government’s bombing campaign has killed at least 750 Lebanese, the vast majority civilians; made 700,000-800,000 Lebanese homeless; and methodically destroyed Lebanon’s infrastructure. Hezbollah fire has killed 52 Israelis, 19 of them civilians.

Filed in: News from Peaceful Tomorrows

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