For Immediate Release:
Monday, March 3, 2008
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, email@example.com
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, firstname.lastname@example.org
Demanding an end to illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, Greens urge widespread grassroots support for the Palestine BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Campaign
Greens blast Clinton, Obama, and McCain for uncritical support of Israel despite mounting crimes
WASHINGTON, DC -- Calling the Siege of Gaza an international emergency, the Green Party is urging Congress to reject President Bush's FY2009 budget request for $2.55 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Israel, and reiterated the call for a cut-off of all US military aid to Israel.
"The Siege of Gaza is an ongoing atrocity, with mounting civilian casualties, especially children, killed and maimed by Israeli Defense Forces," said Holly Hart, secretary of the Green Party of the United States and member of People for Justice in Palestine, responding to the mass killing of Palestinians during the past weekend. "Greens are demanding an end to the siege and to the occupation of Palestinian lands, to Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians, and to targeted assassinations, all of which violate international law."
Greens noted that the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces has doubled since the Annapolis peace talks sponsored by the US in November 2007. In some areas of the West Bank, home invasions by IDF since January 1 have resulted in the kidnapping and detention without charges of nearly 400 civilians, including children. 1.5 million Gazans, mostly refugees from Israel in 1948, live in an open-air prison, unable to exit, and with electricity, fuel, and water under Israeli control.
"Peace talks are a sham as long as Israel refuses to discuss the construction of new housing units for Jewish settlers throughout occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank," said David J. Kalbfleisch, a Green congressional candidate in Illinois' 10th district
The Green Party has already called for an economic boycott and divestment of Israel until the occupation is ended and full human rights and equality are realized throughout historic Palestine, including Israel
Green leaders, emphasizing the need for popular pressure on the US government similar to the campaign against South African apartheid two decades ago, have supported the efforts of Palestinian and Israeli peace groups to seek negotiation and a halt to violence, and are urging participation in the Palestine BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) Campaign .
The President's FY2009 request would enact a 9% increase over 2007 spending, and would be the first installment of a ten-year agreement between the US and Israel, signed in August 2007, to increase military aid by 25%, totaling $30 billion by FY2018.
The arms purchased through Foreign Military Financing are being used to enforce Israel's 40-year military occupation and siege of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and for violation of human rights in the Occupied Territories and against civilians in Lebanon. Such use of weapons purchased with US money violates of the Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act.
"The Green Party has repeatedly called for an end to Israel's illegal occupation, for enforcement of human rights laws consistently violated by Israel, and for an end to all attacks against unarmed civilians by either side," said Justine McCabe, co-chair of the party's International Committee.
"Under the influence of AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbies, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama have bent over backwards to support the Israel government and avoid criticism -- even as Israel warns that it may invade and Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai threatens Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with a 'holocaust.' If the national debate on the Middle East is restricted to Democratic and Republican positions in 2008, the crisis and the atrocities will continue regardless of who wins the White House," Dr. McCabe added.
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Wheels of Justice Tour: Nonviolent education and action against war and occupation in Iraq and Palestine for justice and universal human rights
"Israeli minister threatens "holocaust" as public demand ceasefire talks"
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, February 29, 2008
Palestinian deaths double since Annapolis
By Mel Frykberg, Middle East Times, January 16, 2008