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CAIR Calls on the Bush Administration to Prevent Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

====== CAIR Press Release ======

CAIR Calls on the Bush Administration to Prevent Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Posted 1/21/2008 2:29:00 PM



CAIR CALLS ON THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO PREVENT HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN GAZA

Muslim group says Israeli blockade violates international ban on ‘collective punishment’

(WASHINGTON DC, 01/21/08) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the Bush administration to immediately intervene to put an end to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The crisis triggered by an Israeli-imposed blockade forced the closure, Sunday evening, of the only electric plant that serves the Gaza city’s 400,000 residents and one third of the Gaza Strip’s 1.5 millions residents. The blockade prevents the entry of fuel that is essential to the operation of the plant.

SEE: Gaza dark amid Israeli blockade (LA times)

Gaza is already suffering from economic hardship, which according to the World Bank, is primarily a result of being cut off from the rest of the world by Israel. Without power, hospitals, water facilities and other crucial lifelines may completely shut off and homes may be left without heat, plunging Gaza into disarray.

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On Monday, the U.N. said it would suspend food distribution to 860,000 Palestinians unless Israel eased the blockade imposed on Friday in response to rocket fire from Gaza. The World Food Program, which distributes food to another 270,000 Gaza residents warned that it too would have to suspend operations by Thursday due to lack of fuel.

A European Union (EU) official termed Israel’s blockade “collective punishment,” a practice banned by international law. “I have made clear that I am against this collective punishment of the people of Gaza,” said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. (Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.”)

SEE: U.N. Agency Says May Have to Halt Gaza Food Handout (Reuters)

In a statement CAIR said:

“Because American taxpayers provide Israel with billions of dollars of economic support each year, we have the right and the responsibility to demand that Israel abide by American and universal human rights standards and end its practice of collective punishment against the Palestinian populations. Such practice amounts to war crimes.

“Silence from American officials will only serve to increase the sentiment worldwide that our nation cares little for the suffering of the Palestinian people.

“The perception that the US abets cruel and inhumane treatment of civilian populations provides fodder for anti-Americanism that may threaten the security of the United States.

According the Human Rights Watch World Report 2007, “Israel [retains] effective day-to-day control over most key aspects of life in Gaza, including ingress and egress and thus the economy.”

Seventy-nine percent of Gaza households live under the poverty line, 40 percent suffer from unemployment and almost half the population in the Gaza Strip is made up of children.

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

– END –

CONTACT: CAIR Media Relations Director Ahmed Rehab, 202-870-0166, E-Mail: arehab@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

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1 comment… add one
  • Segiru Sule

    THE GAZA CRISIS: The problem of the Gaza Strip is the problem of the arab world. What is Jordan doing to help the people of West Bank? What is Egypt doing to help the people of Gaza Strip? NOW THE BOTTOMLINE – There are two basic ways by which the arab world can gain the respect of the western world. (1) Total and complete embrace of peace by ceasing all militant activities for a sustained period of time. Then the world could see the reaction of Israel. Will they continue to blockade the gaza Strip or continue to illegally occupy the West bank after that? The world could then truly recognize the aggressors and act accordingly either by way of sanctions or international isolation. (2) Unless and until the arab world obtain weapons of equal force which the Israelis possess, they will never be respected, regarded or treated as equals.

    Going back memory lane, when Soviet Union was Soviet Union, America did not act unilaterally on certain issues – such as invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. They thought twice before engaging in such reckless actions. But when the Soviet Union ‘died’, America became the sole world super power. There ceased to exist, that mutual respect and deterence, hence anybody who failed to please America could simply be bombed out of existence. So, the arab world needs to pursue inward-looking methods of becoming militarily as potent as the Israelis if they ever think of being treated and/or respected by them. When I say inward-looking, I mean home grown military force. If you depend on buying weapons from outside, you will never match those who make arms themselves. You will be like the man who buys fish but cannot catch fish himself. Then this wanton act of brigandage being perpetrated by the west against arabs (muslims) will come to a full stop. Believe you me, dialogue will take the place of unilateral military muscle flexing against the defenceless people of Palestine.

    You will never be respected unless you show that you deserve respect. If Israel know that they will meet with equal and perhaps superior force, they will not treat the palestinians they way they presently do. In summary, therefore, resolving the problems between the arab world (palestinians) and the israelis (the west inclusive), will require the arabs to either totally swallow their pride and make peace with israel or match the isrealis in terms of military force (of whatever mode), being it conventional or nuclear. THE CHOICE IS THEIRS.

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