Palestinians light candles to honor the late South African leader Nelson Mandela as they mourn in Gaza City, Gaza, Dec. 8, 2013.
LEFT: Marwan Barghouti in Tel Aviv District Court on the opening day of his trial, Aug. 14, 2002; RIGHT: Nelson Mandela is released from prison, Feb. 11, 1990.
May 2004 Postcard
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I was disgusted by my government’s reaction to Israel’s assassination of Sheikh Yassin. The world was outraged, yet my government was only “troubled” and called on both sides to show restraint.
We went on to veto a U.N. resolution condemning the assassination. The United States should not categorically block or veto every U.N. resolution critical of Israel. It blackens our reputation for fairness.
As I file my taxes this year I shudder to think that my hard-earned dollars will help fund Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. I don’t want to help fund Israel’s Wall. I refuse to help Israel destroy any more homes, shops, orchards, or cisterns. I refuse to finance their targeted assassinations. No more help from me when it comes to buying Caterpillar bulldozers and bullets to attack peaceful Palestinian and international demonstrators. My taxes should be spent at home.
It’s time for a truly even-handed Middle East foreign policy. If the U.S. begins to support peace and justice in the Middle East, life will be safer for Americans, Arabs and Israelis. Please represent my interests the next time you vote regarding this issue.
City, State, Zip:
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the virtually deaf and blind paraplegic Hamas spiritual leader, going to a Gaza mosque to pray on Jan. 16, 2004 (AFP photo/Mohammed Abed).
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon approved and then even supervised the extrajudicial execution of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on March 22. Helicopter gunships fired three missiles, killing the 67-year-old partially deaf and blind paraplegic and seven others as he left a mosque.
Yassin was the spiritual leader of Hamas, a group Israel helped to form in the late 1980s as a counter-balance to the secular PLO. Before his assassination, Yassin said that an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories could be met with a long-term Hamas cease-fire.
In 2001, Alex Fishman, who writes for Israel’s leading daily newspaper, Yediot Ahoronot, concluded that Israel’s policy of targeted assassinations was aimed at inflaming military groups, not deterring them. Fishman pointed out that Israel tends to commit these killings when militant groups appear to be in a lull or say they will consider cease-fires. Reports describing Palestinian nonviolent demonstrations, sit-ins, and petitions were beginning to garner attention in the press. Sharon knew it was time to enrage Palestinians by assassinating another symbolic leader.