Churches for Middle East Peace – 2004-05-19 10:18:01
As the President spoke May 18 to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Israeli government decided to send more troops to Gaza to bolster their largest military operation there in years.
Israeli troops sealed the Rafah refugee camp and sent in armored bulldozers reinforced by helicopter gunships for what the army called a large-scale operation to root our militants and smuggled weapons.
It was just a month ago that Prime Minister Sharon promised President Bush that Israel would withdraw all of its troops and settlements from Gaza — a promise that elicited significant diplomatic concessions from President Bush.
(for text of the speech,
In the past few days, Secretary of State Powell has been meeting with Palestinian and Arabs officials to try to convince them that the President’s “road map” is alive and that his commitment to Sharon has not prejudged Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on settlements, refugees and borders. And on Saturday, peace groups organized tens of thousands of people in Israel for the first major public demonstration in two years to press for Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
But the photos, broadcast worldwide, of Israel’s bulldozers destroying Palestinian homes could demolish whatever credibility Powell might have hoped to muster.
Ziad Asali, President of the American Task Force on Palestine, lamented, “Pictures of innocent Palestinian families standing helplessly beside demolished homes and in turn broadcast into the living rooms of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslim will only fan the flames of extremism.
The United States has a vested moral and political interest in working to put an immediate halt to the suffering of innocent civilians. Once more, the credibility of policies articulated by the administration is at stake in the Middle East.”
ACTION: This action is simple, will cost you about a nickel and take less than a minute. Call the White House. The White House will be tabulating calls to the “comments line” (202-456-1111) about the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the President’s speech to AIPAC. Your call should be short and to the point:
Sample: I’m calling to protest Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in Gaza and appeal to the President to demand that the Israeli government stop this destruction immediately. The President needs to call Prime Minister Sharon and tell him to live up to his promise to withdraw troops and settlements from Gaza.
Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington-based program of the Alliance of Baptists, American Friends Service Committee, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men’s Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Church World Service, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Franciscan Mission Service, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Maryknoll Missioners, Mennonite Central Committee, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church (GBCS & GBGM) .
Churches for Middle East Peace, 110 Maryland Ave NE, #311, Washington, DC 20002, (202) 543-1222, Fax: 202-543-5025