Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gaza Flotilla Tragedy: Congress Should Act

From Friends Committee on National Legislation:

The tragic deaths on Monday of nine civilians who were attempting to bring humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip is a grim reminder of the ongoing cost of the failure of Israelis, Palestinians, and the international community to achieve a lasting peace in the region.

We at FCNL don't know the full details that led Israeli soldiers to kill those civilians, who were attempting to bring a boat loaded with humanitarian and construction supplies to the Gaza strip.

We do know that the Israelis have kept Gaza closed since Hamas seized control in 2007 and Gaza desperately needs humanitarian relief.

We do know that:

  • an Israeli military assault on a civilian vessel in international waters resulted in at least nine deaths,
  • this action is inflaming tensions in the Middle East and the world, and
  • the cycle of violence can be expected to escalate without vigorous peaceful intervention.

As the pro-Israel, pro-peace group J Street noted following this tragedy, the Israeli blockade of Gaza is not an effective way to increase the security of the state of Israel. FCNL has written to President Obama urging him to exert U.S. influence to end the blockade. That is not enough, though. Now, the United States should also put even more energy into ensuring that peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians succeed.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) has drafted a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on the United States to support direct, determined diplomacy for a two-state solution. The letter states, "We strongly believe that a permanent peace agreement - with two states, living side by side in peace and security- can only be achieved with the United States bringing the parties together and driving them to a settlement." Senator Feinstein has asked other Senators to co-sign this letter.

Take Action

Urge your senators to sign Senator Dianne Feinstein's letter to Secretary Clinton calling for determined U.S. diplomacy to bring Israelis and Palestinians together and drive them to achieve a two-state solution in the Middle East.