I am proud to announce that the members of the NLG delegation to Gaza have finally released our report and it is available to view at: http://nlg.org/NLGGazaDelegationReport.pdf.
We have worked very hard in issuing this report not only for the sake of documenting the atrocities that took place in Gaza but also because this report serves as the first step in demanding that the US government take a firm stance against Israel. In the report, you will read that the US government is the largest military funder and arms supplier to Israel of any country worldwide. We provide Israel approximately $3 billion dollars a year (totaling approximately $8 million a day) in military funding from our tax dollars. Not only is this military funding unacceptable in light of the current recession, with unemployment rates paralleling those of the Great Depression, but it is frankly illegal.
Under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA), the US cannot provide military funding to countries that engage in flagrant human rights abuses. Israel’s recent actions in Gaza alone amount to war crimes. Yet Israel has been unleashing illegal force against the Palestinians for decades, and its recent military offensive in Gaza serves as only the latest of Israel’s crimes against humanity and collective punishment.
As US citizens, we must demand that Congress and the Obama Administration stop funding Israel as is required by the AECA and FAA until it stops its abuses against the Palestinian people. Israel’s war crimes have implicated US law and it is time that US lawmakers stand firmly against Israel and stop our provision of Israeli military funding. In 1982, Reagan stopped the provision of cluster munitions to Israel after it was determined that Israel used cluster bombs in Lebanon. The Obama Administration, a much more progressive administration, must similarly hold Israel accountable and stop ALL military funding and amunition provision until Israel changes its ways. This will only happen once we, the American ppl, make strong demands from our government. Until then, the US will continue to act counter to not only international sentiment, but also counter to its very own laws http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGUSA20090402002&lang=e.
The UN Human Rights Council recently appointed Richard Goldstone to lead a fact-finding mission into Gaza to investigate Israel’s war crimes. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7981538.stm. In Europe, boycotts have resulted in major losses amongst Israeli manufacturers. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/03/israel-gaza-attacks-boycotts-food-industry. Here in the US, we must similarly take action and stop the financing of US weapons to Gaza–weapons that are being used against a largely defensless population.
American Lawyers in Gaza: Evidence that Israel Violated International Law,
U.S. Domestic Law Implicated
New York- Israel violated international law by targeting civilians and
civilian infrastructure, misusing weapons, deliberately denying medical care
to the wounded and attacking medical personnel, the National Lawyers Guild
Delegation to Gaza said today upon releasing a 37-page report containing new
evidence on the facts surrounding Israel’s 22-day military offensive in
Gaza. The full report can be viewed at www.nlg.org. Photos are also
available upon request.
“Our findings join a growing chorus of voices–which include Israeli
soldiers themselves–asserting that Israeli forces deliberately targeted
civilians during the Gaza offensive,” said Radhika Sainath, one of the
attorneys who initiated the seven-day fact-finding delegation to Gaza. “On a
number of occasions, Israeli soldiers shot and killed young children as well
as unarmed civilians holding white flags–both violations of the laws of
The Delegation also uncovered evidence of Israeli soldiers using
Palestinians as human shields, acts that constitute war crimes, as well as
evidence that the Israeli military targeted civilian infrastructure and
grossly misused weapons. Further, Israel denied the wounded access to
medical care and routinely fired on emergency medical teams attempting to
reach those in need of help. Paramedics and doctors reported to the
Delegation that many civilians could have been saved if the Israeli army
allowed Palestinian medical services access to the wounded. “On one
occasion, when Israeli forces did allow Palestinian medical services to
enter an area after four days, soldiers prohibited their ambulances from
approaching and paramedics were forced to pile the injured on donkey carts,”
reported Reem Salahi, a California-based civil rights attorney. “Medical
workers were then forced to pull the carts to their ambulances two
The Delegation is calling on the Obama Administration and Congress to
investigate the possible misuse of U.S. defense articles by Israel during
the Gaza offensive. The Delegation is also calling for the Obama
Administration to immediately suspend military aid to Israel until protocols
are in place to assure compliance with international humanitarian law. “The
United States must take action to ensure that its U.S. foreign assistance is
not used in violation of international law,” said Thomas Nelson, an
Oregon-based attorney specializing in national security law.
A National Lawyers Guild delegation of seven attorneys and one law student
traveled to the Gaza Strip from February 2-8, 2009, to investigate the 22
day Israeli military offensive into Gaza that began on December 27, 2009.
The objective of the Delegation was to investigate the circumstances that
led to the massive Palestinian casualties, to determine what, if any,
violations of international law occurred, and whether U.S. domestic law was
implicated as a consequence.
Founded in 1937, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public
interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its
headquarters are in New York, and it has chapters in every state.