Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stop the Massacre of Palestines! Emergency Protests

Stop the Massacre of Palestinians!

Tuesday, December 30: National Day of Action
Emergency Demonstrations on Tuesday, December 30 and other days (listed below)

The ANSWER Coalition, Muslim American Society Freedom, Free Palestine Alliance, National Council of Arab Americans, and Al-Awda, International Palestine Right to Return Coalition are calling for Tuesday, December 30 to be a National Day of Action to show solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and to demand an immediate end to the murderous attacks carried out by the Israeli military against the people of Gaza.

In San Francisco there will be a demonstration at the Israeli Consulate, 456 Montgomery St. at 5:00 pm. Demonstrations will also be held in cities around the country. See below for an initial list. If there is a demonstration in your city, email the details to info@answercoalition.org so it can be posted on the ANSWER Coalition website and listed in any future emails.

Hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza have been massacred and wounded today as Israel has launched a massive bombing campaign against the people of Gaza. The bombing rampage took place as thousands of Palestinian children were in the streets on their way home from school. Palestinian parents were running frantically in the streets looking for their children as U.S.-provided F-16s and Apache helicopters rained down more than 100 bombs and missiles on Gaza.
The U.S.-backed Israeli Occupation Force destroyed every security station in Gaza. AFP reported: "There was no space left in the morgue and bodies were piled up in the emergency room and in the corridors, as many of the wounded screamed in pain."

Because of the U.S.-backed Israeli blockade and strangulation of the people of Gaza for the past 18 months there is little or no medicine to treat the wounded, electricity for hospitals, or food or clean water for much of the population.

An Israeli military spokesperson said, "The operation is ‘only just beginning’." The Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement: "The action will continue and will widen as much as is demanded according to the evaluation of the situation by the high command of the army."

What is the history and status of US support of Israel?
There are many reasons for the strong bond between the US and Israel, on many levels. The fundamental moral and philosphical basis for the support is explained very well in the article A Nation Like Ours: Why Americans stand with Israel by David Gelernter, referenced in the Sources section at the bottom of the page. On a practical level, the following sections review various dimensions of the US support.

Political Support
The US was the first country to recognize Israel, only minutes after it was officially created in 1948, consistent with a 1922 Congressional resolution backing the League of Nations mandate for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Since then, the two countries have developed a rock-solid friendship that does not depend on the parties in power either in Washington or Jerusalem. While there have certainly been ups and downs, the basic bond between the US and Israel, the only country in the Middle East that resembles the US in its values and democracy, is very strong. Both countries have long-recognized that their mutual interests of deterring war, promoting stability and eventually achieving peace are only possible if the United States continues to stand firmly behind Israel.

United Nations
In the United Nations, the United States did not cast its first veto until 1972, on a Syrian-Lebanese complaint against Israel. From 1967-72, the U.S. supported or abstained on 24 resolutions, most critical of Israel. From 1973-2000, the Security Council adopted approximately 90 resolutions on the Middle East, again, most critical of Israel. The U.S. vetoed a total of 33 resolutions and, hence, supported the Council's criticism of Israel by its vote of support or by abstaining roughly two-thirds of the time. The United Nations has been generally hostile to Israel and often the US was her sole defender in the world body. Israel has returned the friendship by voting soldily with the US on virtually all issues.

Military Cooperation

US Government Photo
US Sec. of Defense Wm. Cohen
escorts Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai
at Pentagon, March 27, 1998
After Israel became an independent country in 1948, the United States joined an embargo on weapons sales to Israel, the 1949 Tripartite Agreement on weapons. Although the US sold hundreds of millions of dollars in weaponry to Arab states during the 1950s and early 1960s, there were no sales to Israel until 1962 when the US agreed to sell to Israel its first significant American system, the HAWK anti-aircraft missile.
American military involvement with Israel remained sporadic until the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Following an Egyptian refusal to accept a cease-fire and a Soviet military airlift to the Arab states, the Nixon Administration sent a United States airlift of weapons and supplies to Israel enabling her to recover from earlier setbacks. Starting on October 14, 1973 US Air Force "Operation Nickel Grass" flew resupply missions to Israel for a full month.
As a direct result of the Yom Kippur War, the United States quadrupled its foreign aid to Israel, and replaced France as Israel's largest arms supplier. The doctrine of maintaining Israel's "qualitative edge" over its neighbors was born in the war's aftermath. This was based both on US appreciation of Israel's role as a defender of Western values in a generally hostile region, and also on the Cold War calculus of opposing the Arab client states of the Soviet Union.
In the following decades, Israel and the US worked together to counter the greatest threats to American interests in the Middle East. These threats include the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by rogue regimes; state-sponsored terrorism; the potential disruption of access to Middle East oil; and the spread of Islamic adicalism.
Cooperation has extended to programs for sharing cutting-edge technology and valuable intelligence; conducting joint military exercises; researching and developing new weapons; establishing joint anti-terrorism strategies; and pre-positioning materiel in Israel for use in the event the US ever needs to respond quickly to a future Middle East conflict.
In the 1990s, Israel and the US collaborated on a theater ballistic missile defense system, the ARROW, vital to Israel to defend against missile from nearby hostile Arab countries. Israel's missile defenses were integrated with US capabilities, including enhanced interoperability and upgraded regional early warning systems.

Economic Cooperation
In 1951 the US provided the first aid to Israel, $65 million to help Israel take in Holocaust survivors and endangered Jews from Arab lands. Within 3 years, Israel's 650,000 Jews absorbed 600,000 refugees from Europe and the Arab nations.
There has been economic aid to Israel every year since 1949, with the amounts fluctuating, generally increasing as the cooperation with Israel became closer or in years when Israel was forced to fight defensive wars or terrorism. From 1960 until 1985, there were no grants; aid consisted largely of loans, which Israel repaid, and surplus commodities, which Israel bought. The reference "U.S. Assistance to Israel" gives a table of annual amounts. The aid to other countries in the region has also increased and is similar in total amount. Much of the aid to Israel is for defense and the money is actually spent with U.S. suppliers so it recycles back to the United States.
Israel is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Several binational programs allow American companies and universities to benefit from Israel’s expertise in agriculture and high technology, while others aim to break down barriers to trade and cooperation between the two countries to make collaboration easier. Israel was the first country to sign a free trade agreement with the US, which has resulted in a quintupling of trade between the two countries. The US-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has served as a model for other trade agreements including the October 2000 FTA between the US and Jordan.
For many years Israel received US financial and military assistance in a combined total of about $3 billion, divided into $1.2 billion in economic assistance and $1.8 billion in military aid. As the Israeli economy grew, and Soviet-era refugees were absorbed, the need for the aid package decreased. In recent years the economic aid has been reduced, while the military package has grown a little since the start of the al-Aqsa intifada.
Take Action:
- Demonstrations Across the Country
- Send a letter to the State Department and Congress

Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, December 30
4:30 pm
State Department: 22nd St & C St NW
Contact: 202-544-3389 x14, dc@answercoalition.org

San Francisco
Tuesday, December 30
5:00 pm
Israeli Consulate:456 Montgomery St.
Contact: 415-821-6545, answer@answersf.org

Los Angeles
Tuesday, December 30
4:30 pm
Israeli Consulate: 6380 Wilshire Blvd.
Contact: 213-251-1025, answerla@answerla.org
* * * * *
In Anaheim, CA (Orange County):
Sunday, December 28
2:00 pm
512 S. Brookhurst St. (between Orange Ave. & Broadway)
Initiated by a coalition with a large number of groups

New York City
Tuesday, December 30
5:00 pm
Israeli Consulate: 800 2nd Ave (b/w 42nd and 43rd Sts)
Contact: 212-694-8720, nyc@answercoalition.org
* * * * *
Sunday, December 28
2:00-4:00 pm
Gather at Rockefeller Center
March to the Israeli Consulate: 800 2nd Ave (b/w 42nd and 43rd Sts)
Initiated by Al-Awda New York

Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday, December 30
5:00 pm
Federal Building: 299 E. Broward Blvd.
Contact: 954-707-0155, FtLauderdale@answerfl.org

Details to be announced
Contact: 773-463-0311, answer@chicagoanswer.net

Details to be announced
Contact: 857-334-5084, boston@answercoalition.org

Saturday, January 3
12:00 noon - 2:00 pm
Westlake Park: 4th and Pine
Initiated by Voices of Palestine
Contact: general@voicesofpalestine.org

Sunday, December 28
2:00 pm
Israeli Embassy Consulate: 180 Bloor St. West
Initiated by a number of local organizations

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