Statement on Gaza Cease-Fire: Our Work Is Not Over

end-the-occu.jpgThis weekend, Israel and Hamas agreed separately to a cease-fire and Israel has begun to withdraw its troops from the occupied Gaza Strip.  Since December 27, Israel killed more than 1,250 Palestinians, more than half of whom were civilians according to the UN, medical sources, and human rights organizations, and injured more than 5,000.  13 Israelis were killed, including 10 soldiers, four of whom died in a ‘friendly fire’ incident.  As of this morning, Israel is closing border crossings into the Gaza Strip, thereby preventing the unimpeded access of humanitarian goods in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

Since Israel’s war on the occupied Gaza Strip began, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has called for:

1) An immediate an unconditional cease-fire

2) Unimpeded humanitarian access to the occupied Gaza Strip and an end to Israel’s blockade of it

3) Accountability for Israel’s misuse of U.S. weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and the imposition of the required sanctions for violating this law

Tens of thousands of people in the United States took action-marching in the streets, distributing educational materials, contacting Congress, the White House, and State Department, and making your voices heard in the media-to help bring about this cease-fire.

While the weapons have fallen silent momentarily, we cannot let up in our activism. Please visit our “End Israel’s War and Siege on Gaza” web section for suggested ideas and ways to continue to be involved.

In fact, we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that Israel lifts its illegal blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip, which is a form of collective punishment of its 1.5 million residents outlawed by the Geneva Conventions.  Returning to the pre-December 27 status quo in the occupied Gaza Strip is not acceptable. As the Occupying Power of the Gaza Strip, Israel is obligated under the Geneva Conventions to provide for the well-being of its residents.  This includes ensuring full and unimpeded access of humanitarian goods, and opening the borders of the Gaza Strip for normal trade and for freedom of movement.  Israel must also be held accountable for its destruction of Palestinian infrastructure and be forced to pay reparations for the human and infrastructural damage it inflicted.  These immediate demands must be followed by a diplomatic process with all interested parties which results in an end to Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 242.

Israel must also be held accountable for its violations of the Arms Export Control Act through its wanton killing and injuring of civilians; its targeting of civilian infrastructure such as police stations, schools, universities, mosques, hospitals, humanitarian aid providers, and UN compounds; and its indiscriminate use of white phosphorous and uranium oxide munitions in civilian areas.  As we have documented, Israel’s war and siege on the Gaza Strip would not have been possible without U.S. weapons provided to Israel with our tax dollars.  It is our job to demand of our politicians that Israel is held accountable for its violations of this law and that sanctions, including ending military aid, are imposed as required by law.  Rep. Dennis Kucinich has already demanded a State Department investigation into Israel’s violations of the Arms Export Control Act and we must collectively build momentum to ensure the investigation is complete and accurate and that Congress acts on the results of the investigation.

Today our office is buzzing with dozens of volunteers from all over the country who have come to Washington, DC for President-Elect Obama’s inauguration.  We are organizing teams of volunteers to cover the National Mall tomorrow collecting signatures on postcards to end military aid to Israel.

Beginning Wednesday, we will be calling upon you to take action from day one of the Obama Administration to demand an end to Israel’s illegal blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip and for accountability and sanctions on Israel for its violations of U.S. law and human rights abuses of Palestinians.

In the meantime, please visit our website for more ways to take action right now.

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