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July/August 2004 Postcard

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DEAR SENATOR:

I strongly object to my tax dollars funding Israel’s purchase of U.S. weapons, which Israel then uses to destroy the lives of Palestinians. It’s illegal under U.S. laws.

Israel consistently violates the U.S. Foreign Assistance and Arms Export Control Acts, which stipulates that U.S. defense items and services furnished to any country be used “solely for internal security, [or] for legitimate self-defense” (22U.S.C. 2302 and 2754). Israel’s excessive and disproportionate use of force to suppress the Palestinian uprising clearly exceeds the bounds of what could be considered legitimate self-defense, and therefore its use of U.S.-supplied weaponry is in violation of the laws of this land, which you have sworn to uphold.

Furthermore, according to U.S. law, “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights" (22U.S.C. 2304).

Please support an arms embargo on Israel. 


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A Palestinian girl holds her school notebook in front of a house demolished by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah, May 27, 2004 (AFP photo/Mohammed Abed).
   

According to a May 25 U.N. report, more than 2,535 Gazans lost their homes following Israel’s demolition of 298 homes since the beginning of May, with over 60 Palestinians killed and 221 injured. The world is appalled by scenes of Palestinian schoolchildren looking for their homework, or grandmothers searching for their medicine in the rubble of their homes.

South African jurist John Dugard, the special rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, described Israel’s actions as “a violation of international humanitarian law [which] constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (Fourth Geneva Convention).” They also amount to collective punishment, which violates both humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Dugard has appealed for an arms embargo on Israel, citing the example of international action against Pretoria’s apartheid regime.

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