Monday, February 23, 2009

Take Action: President Obama to Sanction Israel?

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, February 23, 2009

On February 24th, 2009, President Obama is expected to address a joint session of Congress and deliver a “blueprint” for his FY2010 budget.

According to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the United States and Israel in 2007 and made public by the US Campaign, the President is expected to request $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel in FY2010.

However, there are growing indications that the Obama Administration is considering sanctioning Israel. According to a senior Israeli security official in a Feb. 17 article in Ma’arivIsrael fears that Special Envoy George Mitchell will convince the White House to cut military aid as a response to Israel’s ongoing settlement activities in the occupied West Bank. A Feb. 15 Ha’aretz article speculated that amounts available for U.S. loan guarantees to Israel would be cut for the same reason. 

Meanwhile, last Thursday, 
Sen. John Kerry and Reps. Keith Ellison and Brian Baird visited the occupied Gaza Strip to assess the damage from Israel’s recent war and ongoing siege. This was the first time any U.S. government official visited Gaza in more than three years. After their visit, Ellison and Baird released a strong press release, stating:

“If this had happened in our own country, there would be national outrage and an appeal for urgent assistance.  We are glad that the Obama administration acted quickly to send much needed funding for this effort but the arbitrary and unreasonable Israeli limitations on food and repair essentials is unacceptable and indefensible.  People, innocent children, women and non-combatants, are going without water, food and sanitation, while the things they so desperately need are sitting in trucks at the border, being denied permission to go in.”

Keep up the momentum to hold Israel accountable by taking action below.


1. Encourage President Obama to 
sanction Israel for its misuse of U.S.weapons. 
Send a letter to the President today asking him to investigateIsrael’s prior misuses of U.S. weapons against Palestinians and to reconsider his anticipated request for additional weapons in his upcoming budget. To send your letter, please click here

2. Thank Sen. Kerry and Reps. Ellison and Baird for visiting the occupied Gaza Strip. Contact these Members of Congress to thank them for visiting Gaza to assess the damage from Israel’s war and ongoing siege, and be sure to thank Reps. Ellison and Baird for their strong statement.

Sen. John Kerry: 202-224-2742
Rep. Brian Baird: 202-225-3536

Rep. Keith Ellison: 202-225-4755

3. Organize to challenge U.S. military aid to Israel in your community. Even as we begin to see glimmers of hope that the United States is considering changing its policy of unconditional support for Israel and holding it accountable for its human rights abuses of Palestinians, we have to organize on a long-term, sustained basis to make this happen. 

Since February 2008, we have sent nearly 1,000 organizing packets to people and organizations all over the country to educate and mobilize people in their communities to challenge military aid to Israel. Check out our Google map below showing the locations where people are organizing.

Sign up today as a volunteer organizer with us and we’ll send you an organizing packet complete with postcards, petitions, and fact sheets. 

4. Learn more about U.S. military aid to Israel and its dire impact on Palestinians. Watch our recent Capitol Hill policy briefing, “Armed and Dangerous: Weapons Transfers to Israel during the Bush Administration,” and download a PowerPoint presentation on the topic by clicking here.

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