Saturday, July 12, 2014

How Can YOU Help Gaza?

Make your voice heard and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people by taking some of the following steps:

--> Learn about the international BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement and boycott Israeli products.

--> Attend a protest. They are likely happening in a city near you.

San Fransisco, CA (Photo credit: Hanif Avarsaji‎)

--> Write a letter of protest to the editor of your local newspaper.

--> Write your representatives, senators and other government figures, both American and Israeli. Urge them to take action. Feel free to use the following letter I wrote as a template. It is longer than usually recommended, but please copy&paste liberally (be sure to update causality counts and adjust the wording as the nature of the conflict changes):

Dear President Obama,

This again? It's hard to believe that once again Israel has launched a full-scale military assault on the besieged population of Gaza, marking the third such attack during your presidency. 

Instead of celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, Palestinians are being murdered in their own homes, beach-front cafes, hospitals, schools, even centers for the disabled. Over 150 Palestinians—including at least 25 children—have been killed so far. Another 1,000 have been wounded.
Despite zero loss of life on the Israeli side, Israel has refused to respond to Hamas's rudimentary rocket fire with anything short of excessive force, pounding Gaza with some of the most sophisticated weaponry on earth, including warplanes, tanks, armed drones and warships.
The lack of equivalence in the death toll speaks to the extreme asymmetry of the conflict, which is no ordinary war, but a violent struggle between the occupier and the occupied. Gaza is a small densely populated and impoverished enclave, home to 1.8 million people. Israel is using American made weapons in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act to massacre a refugee population living in a perpetual state of humanitarian crisis due a crippling Israeli-imposed economic blockade.

Israel, despite claims to the contrary, does not have the right to self-defense in international law against the territories it is occupying. A heavily armed occupying power cannot claim to be defending itself against the people it has suppressed and kept stateless for 66 years. 

Bereft of a state, a standing army, an air force, Palestinians live and die under the oppressor's boots. "Operation Protective Edge," as the Israeli Occupation Forces like to call it, is not an "exchange of hostilities," but a one-sided slaughter and a threat to global peace. 

Therefore, I urge you to exert vital diplomatic pressure on Israel to end its brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip and to bring about an immediate cease-fire.

I also urge you to initiate an arms embargo on Israel and an investigation into the weapons manufactured in the US that are misused by Israel against the Palestinian people in this and prior attacks, such as Operation Pillar of Defense or Operation Cast Lead, which killed over 1,400 Palestinians, hundreds of which were children. Israel lost 13 people in that conflict, mostly military personnel, 4 from friendly fire.   

I refuse to accept the permanent condition of statelessness and endless degradation a US-backed colonial regime has imposed on the Palestinian people. I hope you refuse too.

--> Sign a petition.

--> Donate to a reputable organization. Hospitals in Gaza are in desperate need of supplies. 

--> Last, but not least, continue to learn about the occupation of Palestine. Get involved in the anti-Apartheid movement. Amplify Palestinian voices whenever you can by reading and sharing their words and experiences. Spread your new-found knowledge far and wide, educating others. 

"The only nobility we should aspire to is 
to fight each other's oppression." 
~ Leslie Feinberg

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