Please contact your Congress members and/or Senators to urge them to use their power to bring a stop to Israel’s inhumane pressure on the civilians of Gaza. (This call to action is from the Response Network of the Palestine Solidarity Committee — Seattle)
Gaza under extreme pressure, seige
We are sending you this alert to ask you to take action with regard to the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In recent weeks Israel has intensified its ongoing punitive campaign and blockade against the population of Gaza by cutting off fuel supplies, and by daily bombing of the territory, resulting in the deaths of dozens of civilians. The cutoffs have created a dire situation, with severe shortages of food, medicine, and other essentials. With Gaza’s only power plant in danger of being shut off, hospitals are working in the dark and without crucial supplies, forced to decide whose life to save, and whose to sacrifice. Israel’s treatment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment on the scale of a crime against humanity.
Contact your Congress member and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and let them know that you deplore the current policy of Israel towards Gaza. Urge them to draft a resolution censuring Israel’s actions and calling on the Israeli government to end all attacks on civilians and to lift the siege of Gaza, allowing in all needed fuel, food, and medical provisions.
Start date for action:
Tuesday, January 22
Time by which action should be taken:
Monday, January 28
Residents in Gaza are facing the closure of Gaza’s only power plant as Israel continues a shutdown of its border crossings. The plant shut down one of its two turbines on Sunday because of a fuel shortage following Israel’s sealing of Gaza’s borders and shutoff of fuel supplies.
In the past couple of months Israel has sealed its border with Gaza, blocking all air, land, and sea entries. It has cut off the flow of almost all supplies, including medications, in a bid to turn Gazans against Hamas. Hundreds of seriously ill people face death due to the lack of medical treatment and Israel’s refusal to let them travel to Egypt or Israel to receive proper care. Even the importation of water filters, vital for purifying the water drawn from Gazan wells, has been prevented.
Meanwhile, in just the past week over 40 people have been killed by Israeli bombing raids, with dozens more wounded, including women and children. In that time, Israel has launched daily operations against Gaza. In only one day last week, nineteen people were killed. More than 120 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in air strikes since Israelis and Palestinians formally relaunched a peace process in late November.
The Israeli government has drastically reduced its supply of fuel and energy, increasing the already desperate humanitarian crisis. Gaza now has only 35 percent of the power that its 1.5 million citizens need. With most areas already suffering power cuts for up to eight hours a day, Gazans are now faced with living entirely without electricity.
At the beginning of this week, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross said Gaza hospitals still had medications, “but it won’t last for more than two or three days.” Now, Gazans must also contend with the possibility of already scarce food supplies being cut off. The UN relief agency UNRWA said that the agency could be forced to suspend food distribution to 860,000 people because of the shortage of fuel and plastic bags.
On Monday Israel agreed to allow diesel fuel and medicine into Gaza on a one-time basis, momentarily easing the blockade. The shift came after the Israeli prime minister had said Gaza’s residents can “walk, without gas for their cars.” However, this token move will not appreciably resolve the crisis; the Israeli government will do no more than the minimum, without significant pressure from the United States.
Please write letters to your Congress members and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, objecting to the Israeli bombardment and siege of Gaza, and to Israel’s policy of withholding fuel and goods needed for survival. Appeal to your representatives to censure Israel for the cruelty and hopelessness that it is wreaking upon the Gazan population. See talking points below.
The most effective ways to get in touch with Congress and Senators are listed in order:
2. telephone calls
3. e-mail letters
Phone numbers and e-mail addresses for your U.S. Senators:
Phone numbers and e-mail addresses for your Congress members:
E-mails to most Congress members must be sent via their web sites. To access these sites, click the links supplied below.
Fax: (202) 224-0238
Phone: (202) 224-2621
- Israel’s siege against Gaza is resulting in life-threatening shortages of food and medicine, as well as a cutoff in crucial power supplies. This is unconscionable treatment of a civilian population.
- The United States, principle sponsor of Israeli policies, must not sit idly as this humanitarian crisis unfolds.
- The laws and conventions of warfare make a distinction between a civilian population and armed forces — a distinction which Israel is openly ignoring. The collective punishment against the entire population of Gaza is a violation of international law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
- Forcing the people of Gaza to die in darkened hospitals, to drink polluted water because of lack of electricity to power water pumps, and to starve slowly, will in no way help the people of Sderot, where Gazan fighters are firing their small and ineffective rockets. Direct negotiations with Hamas must be initiated.
Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.
Information for this alert has been taken from the following sources, which you can consult as background material:
“Economic Warfare in Gaza” by Yossi Wolfson
“Green light for atrocities”
“Bush in Jerusalem: Rhetoric Trumps Substance”
Sunday, January 20, 2008 11:08 Mecca Time, 8:08 Gmt
“Gazans facing power shutdown”
“Role of the Media Where does it end?”
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada
21 January 2008
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The response network sends out periodic emails asking you to take action on specific Palestine-related issues.