It only gets worse


Khalil Bendib
Originally uploaded by marcynewman.

A friend returned back to Deheishe today from Ghaza. In addition to the bloodbath that the Israeli Occupation Forces have leveled against the Palestinian civilian population, there are other problems such as a blood shortage in the hospitals, price hiking of necessary items such as water (costing small families approximately $70 per week), no garbage pick up and a growing rat population, and fuel shortages which people and hospitals with generators need in order to have the few hours of power that they have each day.

Meanwhile in Lebanon, Israel is using illegal phosphorus bombs on a civilian population. In southern Lebanon they dropped leaflets on villages asking people to flee and then waiting to drop bombs on innocent families trying to flee to safety. The American University of Beirut canceled the rest of its summer semester, an unprecedented act that apparently never even happened during the Civil War. Power plants have been attacked as well as many, many people and now there is a new refugee population of Lebanese people who went to the UN and who were then kicked out. It took 20 years to rebuild this place and only a few days for Israel to wipe it out again.

It’s overwhelming and devastating. Now Israel is asking for the UN to enforce its resolutions. So ironic. Never in its history has Israel ever obeyed a UN resolution and yet, now, they are asking for the UN to intervene. As if they would obey even that. They’ve never once adhered to the UN resolutions asking them to give up its occupied territory of Lebanon; it still occupies Shaba’a Farms in the south. And it has never stopped its regular F16 terror flights into Lebanese air space. I, myself, have experienced this twice during visits to Lebanon.

When will the world open its eyes and say enough to this racist, occupying, bloodthirsty nation? Israel has never been anything other than violent with its Arab neighbors, though they have managed to fool the world into thinking that they are the victims. I wish people would wake up and speak up.

In the meantime, there is more that people can do who want to help people Lebanese and Ghaza.

*****************

1. Emergency Medicine for Children in Gaza

Dear Friend of the Children,

As you probably know, thousands of sick and injured children in Gaza have no medicine.

Critical medicines are scarce because of border closings and punitive measures taken by Israel, the US and Europe—as usual, it’s, the children who are suffering the most.

Our friend, Dr. Mona El Farra (click here to read Dr. Mona’s letter) asked me if there was any way MECA could send a shipment of antibiotics, pain medications, and dialysis solution.

I told her, yes, MECA will find a way to send medicine for the children.

That’s why I’m turning to you now.

We must raise $30,000 for shipping to send a shipment of medicines to northern Egypt, and to hire people there who will make sure the medicine gets through to Dr. Mona in Gaza.

I’m counting on you to help tens of thousands of children with life-threatening injuries or illnesses.

Make a donation now!

We will do everything we can to make sure our shipment of medicine gets into Gaza. If there’s a problem, I am fully prepared to go to the border crossing myself and bring the medicine to Dr. Mona for the children—as I have done before in Palestine and Iraq.

Every day, Palestinian parents kiss their children goodbye in the morning not knowing if they will come safely home from school in the afternoon. And even when they are home, they are not safe.

When six shells fell on the Ghaban home last month, shrapnel pierced the skull of eight-year old Hadeel, killing her instantly, and injuring her mother and her seven brothers and sisters.

Sadly, we can’t help Hadeel. But we can honor her memory, by helping other families who are trying to help their children survive under the most horrifying circumstances.

Please send the most generous contribution you can. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Barbara Lubin
Founder and Executive Director
Middle East Children’s Alliance
***********************************************************************
2. ACTION ALERT: Stop Israel’s Attacks on Gaza & Lebanon

July 13th, 2006

BACKGROUND: Israel is using weapons supplied by the United States to target Palestinian & Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon in violation of the US Arms Export Control Act and the Geneva Conventions.

* On July 12th, Israel killed 23 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with missiles fired from aircraft and shells fired from tanks. Israel killed 9 members of one family in a missile strike on a house near Gaza City.

* On July 12th, Israel launched a massive invasion of Lebanon. Israeli aircraft fired missiles targeting civilian infrastructure, including bridges, roads, a mosque, a community center, and the Beirut International Airport, and the Israeli navy is blockading Lebanon’s ports. Israel has killed at least 50 Lebanese civilians and injured more than 100, including entire Lebanese families of 10 and 7 people killed in the villages of Dweir and Baflay.

* On June 27th, Israel launched a massive invasion of the Gaza Strip. Israeli aircraft fired missiles targeting civilian infrastructure. In illegal acts of collective punishment, Israel demolished three key bridges, the Gaza Strip’s only electricity generation plant, and part of a university, thereby endangering Palestinian human rights to food, water, health, electricity, education, and freedom of movement. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted that the purpose of these measures is to “apply pressure” to the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

* On June 20th, Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an extrajudicial assassination attempt on a road between Jabalya and Gaza City. The missile missed its intended target and killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15.

* On June 13th, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a van in an extrajudicial assassination of two Palestinians in Gaza City. A second barrage of missiles fired shortly afterward killed nine Palestinian bystanders.

* On June 9th, Israel shelled a beach in Beit Lahiya killing 8 civilians and injuring 32. At the site of the killing, Human Rights Watch found evidence of a 155mm artillery shell consistent with those fired from an Israeli M-109 Self-Propelled Artillery.

Israel’s human rights violations in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon are being committed with US weapons financed by US tax dollars:

The Israeli air force fighter squadrons are composed of Lockheed Martin F-16I Fighting Falcons and Boeing F-15Is, which fire US-manufactured AMRAAM, Sidewinder, and Sparrow missiles. From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel at least $1.062 billion of spare parts, engines, and missiles for its F-15 and F-16 fighter planes.

From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to the Israeli navy more than $572 million worth of patrol boat, ship, and submarine components and spare parts, torpedoes, and sonar equipment.

From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel more than $348 million worth of tanks, components, and spare parts.

From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel $69,163 worth of M-109 spare parts and 155mm artillery shells.

(Statistics for US weapons licensed to Israel are compiled from the State Department’s annual report to Congress pursuant to Sec. 655 of the Foreign Assistance Act. For more information, click here

Israel’s summer of killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is a clear reminder that Israel remains the occupying power of the Gaza Strip despite last year’s “unilateral disengagement”. Living under military occupation, the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are “protected persons” under the terms of the Geneva Conventions. Israel’s targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon is a violation of the Geneva Conventions and constitutes war crimes.

In addition, by using US-supplied weapons to commit these atrocities, Israel is violating the terms of the US Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act. The Arms Export Control Act restricts the use of US weapons to legitimate self-defense and internal policing; US weapons cannot be used to attack civilians in offensive operations. The Foreign Assistance Act prohibits US aid of any kind to a country with a pattern of gross human rights violations.

TAKE ACTION: Hold Israel to account for its killing of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

* Contact the White House, State Department, and your Members of Congress to demand that Israel is held accountable for its violations of the US Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act and urge that military aid to Israel be cut off as required by law. Click here to send an email

* Write a letter to the editor or op-ed for your local newspaper and call your local talk radio stations to protest Israel’s atrocities in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and highlight US support for these actions. For contact information for your local media, click here

Below is a template for a letter to the editor:

Letters to the editor should be short, punchy, and clear. They MUST refer to actual coverage of that particular paper, either naming a particular article or referring to trends (as below). Be sure the text of the letter does in fact respond to the particular article or trend you reference. Be sure to include full name, address, contact phone numbers and (for some, not for others) name of the organization.

BE SURE THAT LETTERS ARE ALL DIFFERENT, AND DO NOT LOOK LIKE CARBON COPIES OF EACH OTHER!

TEMPLATE: USE THIS AS A GUIDE, NOT A CARBON COPY!

* Ask WHY DOESN’T [NAME THE NEWSPAPER] ACKNOWLEDGE or DOWNPLAYS or MINIMIZES THE FACT THAT or DOES NOT EMPHASIZE THAT
a) ISRAEL IS ATTACKING CIVILIANS or
b) ISRAEL IS DESTROYING NON-MILITARY INFRASTRUCTURE or
c) ISRAEL’S RESPONSE IS DISPROPORTIONATE

* Add YOUR READERS SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING
a) THAT THE VICTIMS INCLUDE X, AGE XX, Y, AGE XX, AND Z, AGE XX or
b) THAT DESTROYING THE ELECTRICAL PLANT MEANS
1) 860,000 CIVILIANS WITHOUT POWER, MANY WITHOUT WATER or
2) HOSPITALS DEPENDING ON LAST WEEK OF FUEL FOR GENERATORS or
3) THE UN SAYS GAZA FACES A HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE or
4) ISRAEL AND U.S. HAD ALREADY IMPOSED A SEVERE BOYCOTT ON GAZA CAUSING HUGE HUMANITARIAN CRISES

* EXPRESS CONCERN FOR ISRAELI VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND THE UNCRITICAL NATURE OF U.S. SUPPORT FOR THOSE VIOLATIONS.

* ASK [THE NEWSPAPER] TO BE MORE BALANCED IN ITS COVERAGE.

MODEL LETTER:

To the Editors:

I am mystified by the failure of the mainstream media to acknowledge that Israeli military actions in the Gaza and southern Lebanon are targeting civilians and other non-military targets. The destruction being wrought on the Palestinian people, and now the Lebanese, has largely been ignored while all attacks – whether on soldiers or civilians – carried out by a Palestinian militant receives significant attention.

The silence of the vast majority of the mainstream media and political leadership in the USA regarding Israel’s actions and the blind-eye taken toward Israel’s continual failure to respect the United Nations’ resolutions to withdraw from the Occupied Territories, makes a mockery of any concern regarding human rights and international law.

I ask that [THE NAME OF NEWSPAPER] provide more balanced coverage of the situation in Palestine, and offer a forum for legitimate debate on the issues at hand. Years after an atrocity, the people of the world look at themselves and ask ‘…why were we silent?’ It is not too late to preempt that question.

Sincerely,
**************************************************************
3. Sign a Petition Against Israel’s Attack on Lebanon

To: US Government

PETITION FOR THE CONDEMNATION OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL AND FOR IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF ISRAELI FORCES FROM LEBANON

We, the undersigned, do hereby petition the United States of America and the United Nations as follows:

Believing that the current actions by the State of Israel in invading/attacking the State of Lebanon is both an unlawful and unwarranted attack upon innocent civilians by an aggressor nation, we call upon the United States of America and the United Nations to condemn the State of Israel, and the actions thereof, and to demand the immediate cessation of all military action by the forces of the State of Israel within the borders of the state of Lebanon, and to demand the immediate withdrawal of all personnel of the State of Israel from the State of Lebanon.

Signed:

Sincerely,
********************************************************************

Salam–

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2 thoughts on “It only gets worse

  1. I pray that the Lebanese government will team up with Israel to remove Hezbollah from its soil. Then Lebanon and Israel can both benefit from increased peace and prosperity. This is all Hezbollah & Syria and Iran’s fault. Let’s hope that the US and other civilized countries continues to support Israel so that the madness of the death-cult of Hamas and Hezbollah can be brought to a quick end.

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