Washington, DC | January 15, 2009 | www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is calling on its members, supporters, and friends to be proactive and submit letters to the editor, Op-Ed articles, and commentary to news outlets, including radio and television, to highlight the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza as a result of the continuing Israeli attacks.
As part of its ongoing work in addressing the situation in Gaza, ADC has monitored US-based media coverage of the crisis for the past several days. Unfortunately, thus far, our fellow citizens are not being afforded a complete picture of the tragedy in Gaza. So, please act now and ask your local newspapers, television stations, and radio programs to fairly portray the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.
Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor. To find contact info for your local media click here:
ADC has developed the following talking points for those submitting comments:
1) The Israeli strikes, which started on December 27th, come after several weeks of a tight Israeli blockade which left many of Gaza’s 1.5-million inhabitants without sufficient food, water, fuel, or medicine.
2) Israeli’s attacks on Gaza, thus far resulting in the death of over 1,045 people, including over 300 children, and injuries to over 4,850 more people (46% women and children), calls for an immediate investigation by the United Nations and objective review by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
3) The population of Gaza is 2/3 refugee and more than half are under the age of 16. The UN has listed Gaza as the most densely populated area in the world with a population density that is higher than that of Manhattan in New York City.
4) Israel has a responsibility as the occupying force under international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions, and the laws of war to avoid harm of civilians in Gaza.
5) Israel’s actions with the tight blockade on the 1.5-million people in Gaza is a violation of those laws. Israel‘s attacks have destroyed 13 Mosques, targeted several hospitals and ambulances resulting in the killing over 16 paramedics, and targeted and destroyed three UN-operated schools; in one incident killing 40 Palestinians who sought shelter inside the school. Israeli military shelling also hit the UN Gaza Headquarters causing several injuries and leaving the compound in flames.
6) Israeli’s attacks on Gaza and its reported use of White Phosphorus artillery shells (an incendiary weapon prohibited by the 1980 Geneva Convention from use in civilian areas) calls for an immediate investigation by the United Nations and objective review by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
7) The timing of the strikes calls into question Israel’s political motivation as this comes in the final days of a lame-duck US Administration and one-month before a hotly-contested Israeli election in which the challenger is attacking the incumbent for being “soft” on security.
8) It is time for the US to take its proper role as an honest broker in the conflict and to live up to its promise as a champion of freedom, liberty, and justice.
9) An immediate cessation of hostilities on all sides and a complete end to the blockade is the only way to reinstate a cease-fire agreement that will ensure the security of both Israelis and Palestinians.
10) The mainstream media in the US has thus far miserably failed in its news coverage of the humanitarian tragedy taking place in Gaza. Media outlets should recall the disproportion, context of occupation, and siege when mentioning the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas on southern Israel.
Situation before the strikes:
Cease-Fire from June to December: During the cease-fire brokered by Egypt in June 2008, rocket attacks by Hamas had greatly diminished. The blockade of Gaza was relaxed slightly by Israel; however, it never ended completely.
November: Israel escalated the situation in early November by killing 6 Palestinians in Gaza; claiming they were involved in weapons smuggling, in the bloodiest violation of the cease-fire during the Egyptian-brokered agreement. This resulted in renewed rocket attacks by Hamas thus resulting in the crippling tight blockade by Israel on the 1.5-million people in Gaza.
December: The siege of Gaza continued to suffocate the population with renewed Hamas rocket attacks against southern Israel.
Impact of these strikes on the security of Israel:
The disproportionate nature of the Israeli strikes furthers the humanitarian disaster, and represents a collective punishment of the population of Gaza, which will not likely lead to security for Israelis. Multiple studies indicate that similar attacks in the past have failed to make Israeli citizens any safer and resulted in increased support of Hamas.
Throughout the history of Arab-Israeli peace negotiations only cease-fires and agreements have brought peace and security for both Arabs and Israelis.