ADC ACTION ALERT
Sharon Escalates Attacks on Palestinians: A Call for Emergency Action
In light of Israels escalation of violence, there must be an urgent public outcry.
Please take immediate action. Call for U.S. action to protect Palestinians.
In a major escalation, Israel attacked the Khan Younis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinians and wounding 50 more. Israeli tanks and bulldozers demolished 25 homes and left many others pockmarked with machine-gun bullet holes. Olive groves, a major part of the economic life of the refugees, were also razed.
The Khan Younis refugee camp is one of the oldest Palestinian refugee camps, established in 1949, and is home to approximately 80,000 refugees. The assault took place when Israeli tanks, armored personnel carriers, and bulldozers crossed into Area A after cutting off the camps power supply, leaving the area in almost complete darkness.
Israeli Ministers say that the current escalation is part of a plan to impose a military solution which enforces Israels rule in the Occupied Territories and eliminates all Palestinian resistance. It would be more accurate to say that it signifies Sharons intention to destroy all vestiges of Palestinian independence.
This serious escalation is the first, but likely not the last, large-scale Israeli invasion of Area A zones of Palestinian self-rule. This action reinforces the urgent need for international protection for the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. We urge everyone to call on the Bush Administration to lead the effort to provide this protection.
Israel is attempting to suppress the Palestinian uprising against thoccupation on every front:
resumption of extrajudicial executions of Palestinian leaders, continued economic strangulation of the civilian population of the Occupied Territories, settlement expansion, resumption of home demolitions, and a spate of intensely racist anti-Arab incitement from Israeli religious and political leaders. The leader of Israels ultra orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef called for the annihilation of Arabs. It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.
The entire Palestinian population is under siege. Israel has divided the West Bank into 64 isolated enclaves, cut off by deep trenches across roadways, earthen ramparts, concrete barriers, and military checkpoints, often with tanks and armored personnel carriers. Gaza is divided into 4 areas. Israels tactics, which have been condemned by human rights organizations and the UN Human Rights Commission, include indiscriminate use of live ammunition, tanks, rockets, helicopter gunships and other heavy weaponry against unarmed Palestinian protesters, and besieging Palestinian towns and cities. These tactics, heavily used by the government of Prime Minister Ehud Barak, have only been intensified under Ariel Sharon.
Human Rights Watch issued a report blaming Israel for the bulk of the violence. It described Israeli troops killing unarmed people posing no serious threat, firing machine guns indiscriminately into densely populated areas, carrying out assassinations, and standing by as Israeli settlers attack Palestinians. Even the U.S. Administration has at last sharply criticized Israeli actions. The State Department responded to the raid on the Khan Younis refugee camp with a call to end Israels excessive use of force. The State Department has also criticized racist Israeli statements and opposed any expansion of settlements.
Please send letters to your local newspapers and contact your elected
representatives and U.S. officials immediately.
The U.S. must go beyond mild criticism and use its considerable leverage
diplomatic pressure, U.S. military and economic aid and insist on an
end to the Israeli military escalation. The U.S. must demand that Israel stop using U.S.-made Apache and Blackhawk helicopter gunships and missiles in attacks against civilian populations. The U.S. should call for international protection of the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and take the lead in providing such humanitarian protection, rather than blocking it. We must not allow these abuses to become routine and institutionalized.
Israels practice of collective punishment against innocent civilians and its outright disregard for basic human rights are morally repugnant and severely damage prospects for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Please note that you can use the automatic Contacting Congress feature on the ADC website www.adc.org for sending a letter to any Congressional office and also for sending a letter to the editor of local media. Just follow the instructions on the website and send your message.
ADC ACTION ALERT