Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, January 2009
Open Letter to President Barack Obama
By US Muslim, Christian, Jewish Groups
ccun.org, January 25, 2009
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that
Dear President Obama,
With your historic inauguration as the 44th President of the United
States, we share our sincerest congratulations and
As American citizens we are deeply concerned that our nation’s
one-sided approach to the Middle East crisis
As you embark upon your presidency, we offer your administration the
following recommendations for an evenhanded
End the longstanding blockade and allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.
Since January 2006, Israel has blocked entry into Gaza, preventing delivery of food, medicine, fuel, and basic necessities.
Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace, called on the world to, “Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp.” On December 30, 2008, the humanitarian relief boat “Dignity”, carrying a former U.S. Congresswoman, was rammed and shot at by the Israeli navy and could not deliver its aid. On January 8, the International Committee of the Red Cross relief workers found four starving children sitting next to their mothers’ dead bodies. The ICRC reported that, “The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestinian Red Crescent to assist the wounded.”
Demand that Israel adhere to international law.
Israel is in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Territories, and Resolution 446, which calls for Israel to remove and stop building all illegal settlements on Palestinian land. Israel must also abide by Resolution 1860, passed on January 8, which calls for an “immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza” and “the unimpeded provision throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance within Gaza, including food, fuel and medical treatment.”
Call for a lasting and enforceable ceasefire respected by all parties.
In June 2008, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire, which, according to CNN, Israel broke by killing 6 Palestinians in Gaza on November 4, 2008. Hamas retaliated by firing rockets into Israel, and the carnage in Gaza was Israel’s response.
Israeli military veteran and professor of international relations,
Avi Shlaim, has stated that Israel’s “response to the
Reevaluate the $3 billion of annual U.S. aid to Israel .
The U.S. Arms Export Control Act mandates that American weapons not
be used to attack civilian populations in
Congressman Dennis Kucinich recently stated, “Using U.S. planes,
helicopters and munitions to attack a wounded,
Mr. President, we respectfully urge you to consider our
recommendations to rescue the people of Gaza from this
Muslim Public Affairs Council - New York (www.mpac.org)
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