[HCCN] Fwd: Urge your rep to Act to End Gaza Suffering

Judith Robbins JUDY at ROBBINSandROBBINS.com
Wed Dec 16 19:37:15 EST 2009


The Text of the Letter to President Obama follows; it is provided by  
the Friends Committee on National Legislation.


Begin forwarded message:

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> Action Alert	Enter Your Zip Code:		
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	Urge Your Rep to Act to End Gaza Suffering
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> A year after the Gaza war, Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip  
> continue to live in poverty and deprivation.  As winter rains and  
> cold arrive, the concrete and other materials needed to rebuild  
> clinics, schools, and homes destroyed in the war a year ago are  
> still banned from entering Gaza.  Equipment and supplies to rebuild  
> the public health infrastructure of electricity, water, and sewage  
> networks are also banned.  Reps. Jim McDermott (WA) and Keith  
> Ellison (MN) are asking their House colleagues to address this  
> ongoing humanitarian crisis by urging President Obama to make a  
> determined effort to end Gaza suffering.
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> Take Action
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> Write to your representative and urge him or her to join this  
> important effort to end Gaza suffering and reinvigorate U.S. Middle  
> East diplomacy.
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Issues: Middle East Peace


Dear Colleague Letter to Obama: Ease Gaza Suffering
12/10/2009
Reps. Jim McDermott (WA) and Keith Ellison (MN) wrote a letter to  
their colleagues in the House of Representatives to invite them to  
sign on to their letter asking President Barack Obama to work to ease  
the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. As the one-year anniversary of the  
Israeli military operation in Gaza approaches, FCNL is pleased to  
support this letter in hopes of ending the blockade of Gaza. Urge  
your representative to sign this letter here.

Organizations supporting this letter include:

J Street, Americans for Peace Now (APN), The Holy Land Christian  
Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), The American Task Force on Palestine  
(ATFP), American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights (AAPER),  
The American Near East Refugee Association (ANERA), The Methodist  
Church, The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Rabbis  
for Human Rights, InterAction, The Getman Group, and MercyCorps
***

Dear Colleagues,

As we approach the one year anniversary of military operations in  
Gaza, I ask that you join with me in sending the following letter to  
President Obama. It asks him to work for improved conditions for the  
residents of the Gaza Strip, who have suffered from severe  
restrictions on the movement of goods and people into and out of Gaza.

The United States Congress must affirm that the legitimate security  
needs of Israel and the legitimate needs of Palestinian civilians can  
both be met. As it stands now, restrictions on basic building  
supplies, foodstuffs, and medicine have left parents unable to keep  
their children warm and well fed. This does not contribute to the  
peace process or any security need, although it may have the effect  
of consolidating support for those who would respond with terrorist  
violence.

It is both unwise and inhumane to allow this situation to continue as  
it has. Please join us in asking President Obama to work for tangible  
improvements to the humanitarian concerns in the Gaza strip.

Sincerely,

Jim McDermott, Member of Congress

Keith Ellison, Member of Congress


Letter text follows:


President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for your ongoing work to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian  
conflict and for your commitment of $300 million in U.S. aid to  
rebuild the Gaza Strip. We write to you with great concern about the  
ongoing crisis in Gaza.

The people of Gaza have suffered enormously since the blockade  
imposed by Israel and Egypt following Hamas’s coup, and particularly  
following Operation Cast Lead. We also sympathize deeply with the  
people of southern Israel who have suffered from abhorrent rocket and  
mortar attacks. We recognize that the Israeli government has imposed  
restrictions on Gaza out of a legitimate and keenly felt fear of  
continued terrorist action by Hamas and other militant groups. This  
concern must be addressed without resulting in the de facto  
collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.  
Truly, fulfilling the needs of civilians in Israel and Gaza are  
mutually reinforcing goals.

The unabated suffering of Gazan civilians highlights the urgency of  
reaching a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we ask  
you to press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza as an  
urgent component of your broader Middle East peace efforts. The  
current blockade has severely impeded the ability of aid agencies to  
do their work to relieve suffering, and we ask that you advocate for  
immediate improvements for Gaza in the following areas:

· Movement of people, especially students, the ill, aid workers,  
journalists, and those with family concerns, into and out of Gaza;

· Access to clean water, including water infrastructure materials,

· Access to plentiful and varied food and agricultural materials;

· Access to medicine and health care products and suppliers;

· Access to sanitation supplies, including sanitation infrastructure  
materials;

· Access to construction materials for repairs and rebuilding;

· Access to fuel;

· Access to spare parts;

· Prompt passage into and out of Gaza for commercial and agricultural  
goods; and

· Publication and review of the list of items prohibited to the  
people of Gaza.

Winter is arriving and the needs of the people grow ever more  
pressing. For example, the ban on building materials is preventing  
the reconstruction of thousands of innocent families’ damaged homes.  
There is also a concern that unrepaired sewage treatment plants will  
overflow and damage surrounding property and water resources.

Despite ad hoc easing of the blockade, there has been no significant  
improvement in the quantity and scope of goods allowed into Gaza.  
Both the number of trucks entering Gaza per month and the number of  
days the crossings have been open have declined since March. This  
crisis has devastated livelihoods, entrenched a poverty rate of over  
70%, increased dependence on erratic international aid, allowed the  
deterioration of public infrastructure, and led to the marked decline  
of the accessibility of essential services.

The humanitarian and political consequences of a continued near- 
blockade would be disastrous. Easing the blockade on Gaza will not  
only improve the conditions on the ground for Gaza’s civilian  
population, but will also undermine the tunnel economy which has  
strengthened Hamas. Under current conditions, our aid remains little  
more than an unrealized pledge. Most importantly, lifting these  
restrictions will give civilians in Gaza a tangible sense that  
diplomacy can be an effective tool for bettering their conditions.

Your Administration’s overarching Middle East peace efforts will  
benefit Israel, the Palestinians, and the entire region. The people  
of Gaza, along with all the peoples of the region, must see that the  
United States is dedicated to addressing the legitimate security  
needs of the State of Israel and to ensuring that the legitimate  
needs of the Palestinian population are met.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress










©1998-2009; FCNL | 245 Second Street NE, Washington, DC 20002 |  
202-547-6000 | Toll-free: 800-630-1330 | www.fcnl.org










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