Jun 8, 2010

JStreet: Stopping Weapons, Feeding People

[A Prayer for Israel in Troubled Times: http://shefanetwork.org/prayerforisrael.pdf]


J Street is the political home of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.

The United States, Israel and Egypt actually seem to be grasping - in the wake of last week's flotilla tragedy - just how counterproductive the present blockade of Gaza has been. 

Hamas is stronger, Gilad Shalit remains captive and rockets still fall on Israel.  Of course that hasn't stopped Glenn Beck, Liz Cheney, and the American "Israel-right-or-wrong" chorus from circling the wagons to defend the blockade in its current form.

It's time for the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement to say clearly: the present blockade has been wrong - strategically and morally - and it's time to change course in Gaza.

Join us in pressing the United States, Israel and Egypt to pursue a saner policy towards Gaza.

We're encouraged that the U.S. and Israel appear to be re-examining policy toward Gaza and that Egypt is opening up the border to allow greater movement of people in and out of Gaza.

Just yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden said, "We are consulting closely with Egypt, as well as our other partners, on new ways to address the humanitarian, economic, security and political aspects of the situation in Gaza."  [1]  And even Israeli officials say they're willing to look at better ways to prevent Hamas and other militants from obtaining weapons without denying Gaza's civilians basic humanitarian goods and construction supplies.

The Obama administration, Israel and Egypt seem to finally recognize that the present approach isn't working. They need our encouragement to adopt a sensible policy that allows the free flow of basic supplies to reach the people of Gaza while preventing rockets, missiles and arms from reaching Hamas.

Join us in urging an end to the present policy in Gaza.

The blockade of Gaza hasn't simply failed, it's undercut the goals it was meant to achieve. Hamas remains heavily armed and its hold on the Strip is as strong as ever, while the people of Gaza suffer and they and the world blame not Hamas but Israel and the United States.

The facts are clear: 4 out of 5 Gazans rely on food aid. Anemia for children under the age of 5 is estimated at 48%. Clean water is scarce (95% of Gaza's water fails World Health Organization standards) because spare parts to fix the sewage system aren't allowed in. 

Today, Gaza's population relies on less than a quarter of the imported supplies it received before the blockade. [2] Israel and the cause of peace are not served by 1.5 million increasingly hungry, dispirited, and angry people - Hamas is.

And the likelihood that Gazans might be open to the kind of compromise that would finally secure Israel's future as a Jewish, democratic home (a two-state solution) shrinks by the day.

Click here to tell Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Oren, and Ambassador Shoukry to fix the Gaza blockade.

Today's action follows on the heels of our movement sending tens of thousands of messages to President Obama - asking him to turn this moment of crisis into an opportunity to take bold action towards a two-state solution.

It's time to take the important next step - and with your help, we can really make an impact.

- Isaac

Isaac Luria
Vice President of Communications and New Media
J Street
June 8, 2010

[1] "Biden: US seeks new ways to deal with Gaza." YNET News. 6/7/2010.
[2] "Guide: Gaza under Blockade," by Heather Sharp. BBC. 5/31/2010.