Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Arab American Institute Statement of Israel's Gaza assault

AAI Statement on Gaza Crisis

Israel's massive bombardment of Gaza must end immediately.

The Bush Administration must demand that the bombing stop, that Gaza's borders be reopened under UN supervision, and that negotiations resume toward reinstating an effective cross-border ceasefire.

Again, as in the past, Israel's overwhelming and disproportionate violence in retaliation puts innocent civilians in the firing line, thereby inflaming Palestinian and regional passions. Indeed, this is the third such devastating assault launched by Israel with the Bush Administration's acquiescence (remember the re-conquest of the West Bank in 2003, and the wars on Gaza and Lebanon in 2006). And to what end? All these attacks on Gaza bring massive civilian deaths, destruction of property, and deepening bitterness toward Israel and the United States. The conditions in Gaza are already deplorable; what hope can Gaza cling to in its darkest hour of need? A nation without hope has nothing to lose, and already, factions are calling for a renewed intifada against Israel.

One cannot view this tragic episode outside the context of Israel's long and cruel history in Gaza which has been criminal, by any measure of international law and conventions.

Should the White House once again fail to act to restrain Israel and to provide real leadership in the search for peace, this tragedy will continue to grow: Palestinian suffering and bitterness will deepen, Israelis will remain insecure, and extremism will be further fueled by anti-American anger.

The bottom line, here, is that, while the stupidity of Hamas' reckless behavior cannot be excused because of the continued danger such ill-considered actions pose to the security and well-being of its own constituents, there can be no justification for Israel's massive and brutal assault.