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15 January 2009

Gaza is dying: Avaaz Petition

Dear friends,

Spread the word - as the awful Gaza death toll passes 1000, our Ceasefire Now petition is being delivered worldwide through ads, phone calls, and meetings with world leaders. We urgently need to reach 1 million signatures this week, act now and forward this email:

Gaza is dying -- the battle has moved deep into its cities, jam-packed with 1.5 million civilians lacking food, medicine or water. President Bush undermined Thursday's United Nations ceasefire resolution and over 1000 people are now dead. The borders remain closed -- journalists can't get in, and desperate civilians can't get out.

But the global movement to end this war is building -- as we spread the word the petition is at 430,000 signatures and rising, it has been delivered to top leaders at the EU, UN and Arab League, our US members are flooding their representatives with phone calls, and Avaaz members worldwide have donated over $120,000 to an ad campaign in key newspapers.

The pressure is working -- so we're ratcheting it up with hard-hitting US ads pressing Barack Obama personally for an immediate change of tack, face-to-face petition deliveries to European leaders this week to get them to act, and working with Palestinians and Israelis to plan bold actions on the ground. But every one of these actions becomes stronger as more of us join the campaign. We need to reach 1 million signatures this week -- thank you for signing the petition already, let's all of us now take a moment to forward this email to all our friends and family so they can join us and be heard:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace

[Here's the text of the petition:
Petition to the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the USA:
We urge you to act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, to protect civilians on all sides, and to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Only through robust international action and oversight can the bloodshed be stopped, the Gaza crossings safely re-opened and real progress made toward a wider peace in 2009.
]
Voices for a ceasefire are finally being heard in the Israeli cabinet and media, Hamas is signalling it could accept a deal including Turkish forces and EU monitors, but the sides are too far apart to end this themselves.[3] That's why action by world powers is critical to break the deadlock -- and global citizens -- voices can make all the difference if we raise an unstoppable voice calling on incoming President Obama, the EU and Arab and Muslim states to guarantee a fair and lasting ceasefire.

This week we are lobbying European and Muslim states for a more effective international initiative to end the violence, protect civilians on all sides and make normal life possible again in Gaza, while reaching out to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who is in the Middle East working for a deal (we met him last year to deliver our food crisis campaign). Meanwhile we're challenging contacts on both sides to think creatively and accept a fair, internationally-overseen agreement.

We've already run member-funded ads in the influential Washington Post and Roll Call, the US Congress newspaper -- on the day of his inauguration this coming Tuesday, we will press Barack Obama to abandon Bush's failed policies and act immediately to end this war, using his own words alongside hard facts to make the case in ads, US media debates and directly lobbying his team.

It's amazing what we can do when hundreds of thousands of us come together arond the world -- and if we raise our efforts to another level this week, we could help to finally end the Gaza horror. Follow the link below to take the first step by signing the petition, then spread the word so others can do the same:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace

With hope and determination,

Paul, Graziela, Alice, Ricken, Luis, Brett, Ben, Iain, Paula, Veronique, Milena and the whole Avaaz team

P.S. For a report on some of Avaaz's other campaigns so far, see: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/report_back_2

Sources:

1. "White House behind US volte-face on ceasefire call":
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/09/gaza-us-security-council-abstention

"Israeli PM Ehud Olmert claims to be able to order Bush around":
http://www.juancole.com/2009/01/israeli-pm-ehud-olmert-claims-to-be.html

2. Washington Post: Israelis Push to Edge of Gaza City:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/11/AR2009011100616.html

3. Haaretz, "Olmert ignoring calls from Barak, Livni for immediate Gaza truce":
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1055214.html

Other Voice - Sderot and Gaza residents calling for a ceasefire:
http://www.othervoice.org/welcome-eng.htm

On Hamas acceptance of a Turkish force, first reported in the Arabic Al-Hayat newspaper, see:
http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/10771766.asp?scr=1

"Gaza bloodshed continues despite UN calls for ceasefire", 9 January 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/09/gaza-fighting-un-ceasefire

"Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?" (6 January 2009) is a statistical analysis by an MIT professor, based on Israel's own data for rocket fire (which it shows stopped for four months) and on which side struck first. It provides useful factual background for how the Israel-Hamas truce effectively collapsed in November well before it expired (facts poorly reflected in some news reporting):
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kanwisher/reigniting-violence-how-d_b_155611.html

International Crisis Group's Ending the War in Gaza report (5 January 2009):
http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=5838&l=1

This Rasmussen Reports poll from the US is of interest: Only 31% of Democrats support offensive, most prefer a diplomatic solution:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/americans_closely_divided_over_israel_s_gaza_attacks

"Gaza: outlines of an endgame", Ghassan Khatib (6 January 2009)
http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/gaza-outlines-of-an-endgame

Jerusalem Post: "Israel must get out of Gaza now", 8 January 2009: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231167305710&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

Reuters: "Hamas seeks truce but says lifting siege a must" (5 January 2009) http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L5111105.htm

The US Army War College has just released a substantial report supporting the view that Hamas can and must be brought into negotiations and is capable of sustaining a long-term truce, or even peace with Israel. Linked via:
http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/node/10703

The inside story of the civil strife between Fatah and Hamas and the Bush administration's involvement in this debacle is best-told in The Gaza Bombshell, an investigative article published in the leading US magazine Vanity Fair in April 2008:
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804

3 comments:

  1. Gaza at the Expense of Darfur?
    January 14,
    I wonder where all of the Muslims were when the conflict in Darfur was raging, for example, (and it still is going on). And of course, the majority of the reaction to that is something along the lines of “yeah but if you support Darfur you have to inprinciple support the Palestinians” or you’ll hear “oh what is going on in Darfur is being made up or blown out of proportion by the evil Western Zionist media”, or if you bring up the fact that many Muslims get involved/upset, etc., about Palestine, yet ignore other conflicts involving Muslims, you’ll ve told how Palestine is so much more important, than those other places, or you’ll be told that if you bring up other conflicts then that must necessarily mean that you don’t care or care less about the Palestinians.

    And frankly, this kind of sentiment makes me angry! Because if the government of Sudan was Christian or Jewish, you can bet that a good many Muslims would be all over the Darfur conflict, and conversely, if the Israel/Palestinian conflict was between Muslims, there’d be nary a peep out of the community, save for a few “yeah what is going on in Darfur is bad but …”. And it’s the, what I call, the “yeah but” comments I’m hearing that is so aggravating to me! I mean, what’s wrong is wrong, if people are being raped, murdered, driven from their homes, bombed, starved, etc., then it’s wrong, it should be condemned, whether or not it’s the “evil Zionists” or our fellow co-religionists doing these awful things! And why is it so hard for Muslims to grasp this? Why are we so ready to speak out against Israel, yet make justifications for the Sudanese government, or Saddam Hussein (back when he was gassing his own people), or even Bin Laden? And we wonder why we’re in the state that we are in as an Ummah? If we can’t even speak the truth, even if it’s against our own selves, then how can we expect Allah to improve our condition? If we jump up and down, scream, cry, holler, when it’s non-Muslims killing us, yet try to justify when our own fellow brothers and sisters are killing us! And we expect “victory from the kuffar”? When we speak outagsint one wrong or inusitce at the expense of another equally wrong or inustice?

    ReplyDelete
  2. First, Arab and Muslim governments have done nothing but strike poses on Gaza, as per usual. Bolivia and Venezuela have actually taken action.

    Darfur is awful, not so much as Congo, but Darfur's bloodbath is worthy of moral condemnation in the US because official enemies are committing them. Other bloodbaths are not worthy -- you can predict with near-total accuracy how to tell the difference. If we back the atrocities, they are regrettable but not much mentioned. If an official enemy is committing or backing the atrocity, cries will reach up to heaven. Typical of all states, really.

    You're right: what's wrong is wrong, and one should fight against all such tragedies, setting aside the desire to deflect attention from the atrocities of official friends, fully backed by the US, by advertising the atrocities of official enemies.

    History also helps. Saddam gassed his people with full US backing. That gets left out, which is why his trial didn't reach back to those events, or else some Reagan-era officials would have had to be in the dock as well. What's happening in Darfur also has a history, and you might learn something from looking into it.

    For what it's worth, what the US has done to Iraq since the Gulf War is also a major war crime -- genocidal, and on a larger scale than what's happening in Gaza. Don't see how that would keep me from being infuriated by the slaughter in Gaza. If anyone, Muslim or otherwise, can't see that many bad things happen at the same time, well, that's their problem.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete