National Lawyers Guild Condemns Israeli Bombardment of Gaza – San Diego Actions In Protest

by on December 29, 2008 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights, World News

Palestinians gathering around the ruins of a building after an Israeli missile strike hit the home of a Hamas member in Beit Lahiya, Gaza, on Monday. (Fadi Adwan/The Associated Press)

SEE UPDATE here at BBC News

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns Israel ‘s massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip which has left over 300 dead and 1,400 wounded, with the tolls mounting. The Israeli Air Force dropped more than 100 bombs in dozens of locations throughout the Gaza Strip as children left school on Saturday. The dead include men, women and children in school uniforms.

“International law forbids the targeting of civilians,” said Radhika Sainath, a civil rights attorney and member of the Free Gaza Committee of the NLG. ” Israel must comply with laws of war and the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Today’s massacre marks an escalation of Israel ‘s two-year blockade of the Strip which has deprived 1.5 million Palestinians of necessary food, medicine, fuel and other necessities. In November 2008, the United Nations stated that it had run out of food to feed over 750,000 needy Gazans.

Israel claims that the attack is in response to Palestinian rocket fire, which caused no recent Israeli deaths and few injuries. However, Israel ‘s “rolling bombardment” and impending ground invasion is grossly disproportionate in light of the minimal damage caused by Palestinian rockets. “The law of war prohibits collective punishment and the targeting of a civilian population disproportionate to military necessity. Israel has flouted both these prohibitions, that follow its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and its sealing of Gaza , subjecting Gazans to near starvation,” said Marjorie Cohn, NLG president and a professor of international law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. “The Human Rights and Security Assistance Act mandates that the United States cease all military aid to Israel , which has engaged in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

1. Ashdod: First attack so far north, Sunday 2. Ashkelon: One man killed, several injured in rocket attack, Monday 3. Sderot: rocket attacks 4. Nevitot: One man killed, several injured in rocket attack, Saturday 5. Civilian family reported killed in attack on Yabna refugee camp, Sunday 6. Israeli warplanes strike tunnels under Gaza/Egypt border, Sunday 7. Three young brothers reported killed in attack on Rafah, Sunday 8. Khan Younis: Four members of Islamic Jihad and a child reported killed, Sunday 9. Deir al-Balah: Palestinians injured, houses and buildings destroyed, Sunday 10. Interior ministry and Islamic University badly damaged, Monday 11. Gaza City port: naval vessels targeted, Sunday 12. Shati refugee camp: Home of Hamas leader Ismail Hanniyeh targeted, Monday 13. Intelligence building attacked, Sunday 14. Jebaliya refugee camp: several people killed in attack on mosque, Sunday

Israeli military spokesman Avi Benayahu stated that the Israeli bombardment of Gaza was “only just the beginning,” showing utter contempt for international norms and the lives of innocent Palestinians. The Guild calls on the entire international community, and the United States in particular, to demand an end to Israel ‘s blockade of the Occupied Territories and its murderous assault on the Palestinian people. We urge everyone to join in the demonstrations planned across the country in opposition to this latest attack on the rule of law by Israel and we call on both sides to immediately reinstate the cease fire.

Founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association, which did not admit people of color, 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.

Contact: Marjorie Cohn, National Lawyers Guild President, marjorie@tjsl.edu; 619-374-6923

Radhika Sainath, NLG Free Gaza Committee, radhika.sainath@gmail.com, 917-669-6903

National Demonstartions planned. San Diego demonstrations and protests:

Two Events in San Diego:

International Day of Protest- FEDERAL BUILDING –  
To Protest the Israeli Carnage against the Palestinian people of Gaza.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 4 PM
Downtown San Diego, Front Street – South of Broadway in front of the Federal Building

NEW YEAR’S DAY VIGIL – BALBOA PARK FOUNTAIN bring candles
To Commemorate the Loss of Lives
Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 4 PM
Balboa Park, Park Boulevard at the fountain between the Science Museum & the Natural History Museum

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar mary December 29, 2008 at 10:59 pm

How Ignorant! We are talking about GODS land! Why don’t you IDIOTS take a few minutes and open a BIBLE?
I can’t believe your stupidity! Stop your STUPIDITY,Get out of your ignorance and have a reality check! Read the friggin book To SAVE YOUR SOUL!!!! It just totally BLOWS my mind that some of you just don’t get IT! I WILL pray for your LOST souls! I DO Pray for all of you uneducated lost souls. OH ISREAL the land of GOD will have reign above ALL nations. So It Is written. So let it be done.

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avatar Molly December 29, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Whoa! What kool-aid have you been drinking, Mary? If there is a god, he or she would certainly NOT prefer one small frigging desert over the remainder of the globe. Besides, there’s too much proof that the human race started in the mountains of what’s now Ethiopia.

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avatar Patty Jones December 29, 2008 at 11:39 pm

Don’t pray too hard for me or the other lost souls Mary. Heaven would get so crowded that the truly pious might just wanna blast us heathens straight back to hell. Oh, wait….

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avatar natasha December 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm

UNREAL Mary!!…because YOUR bible and YOUR god says its “israel”,that makes it real…? What about the Palestinians who have been living there? How would you feel if someone came to your house, killed your family, took your belongings and threw you into the street because they had a book that said it was okay…It is i who will pray for you…

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avatar Lane December 31, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Being Jewish and having grown up in a New Jersey community that resembles a modern-day Babel, I have always held my views on relgion (and indirectly, Israel) to be representative of my humanity and not my background. Lest we forget that Israel was created in 1948 by the United Nations as a place of refuge for Jews worldwide trying to pick up their lives after the Holocaust. My mother lost 16 aunts and uncles in the Holocaust along with countless other family members that she or I will never meet because of the fascist nationalism that gripped Germany over the course of one decade.

Of course, over the last 50 + years, it seems that hard line political factions in Israel (with the support of our own clumsy administrations, save for Jimmy Carter) have been able to pin the world’s debt for the Holocaust and widespread Anti-semitism on Palestinians living on land no bigger than San Diego County.

As a pacifist, I think this and other attacks on the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza are atrocious offenses that have left the world no choice but to label Israel as a country adept at covering up human rights violations. The current invasion, clearly a massacre more than anything else, will make this conflict a more sordid affair than in years past.

As a Jew at Sunday School, I was taught by some religious folk that living outside of Israel meant that I was living as a quasi-expat in a worldwide diaspora, and that support of Israel by Americans was imperative to its survival. As technology and media have changed the global perception of Israel from a land of refuge to a bullying occupier, it has become more apparent to me and other Jews who have grown up with a close connection to the atrocities of WWII that many of the actions performed by the Israeli military are mirror images of the SS and Gestapo of the Nazi army.

In college I joined a group of kindred spirits calling itself “Students for a Just Peace”; it was here that I learned that religious background and conviction has nothing to do with this conflict. While I am not myself a practicing or observant Jew, I am keenly aware that there are many who are that are against the occupation in any form. Groups such as the International Solidarity Movement have at times been heavily populated by Israeli citizens, and there is an increasing global understanding that more violence is simply not going to cure any of the ills that plague Israel and the Occupied Territories.

I am glad that Barack Obama has not made a blanket statement about the most recent violence, as I hope our President elect is able to understand the complexity and fragility of this situation. This is no longer a war between two factions; it is a massacre under the guise of security, and the more bodies that are found, the more the fires will be stoked. It is reprehensible to me that politicians, Christian Evangelists, and Jewish leaders in America and in Israel would promote the IDF’s actions as necessary. If Jesus or God were able to make a statment to the media like the one President Bush made, I highly doubt that he/she/whatever would praise Israel or any other government for taking military action to solve a conflict.

It is my understanding that religion promotes Peace, tolerance, forgiveness, etc. In Judaism, the basis of religious practice is called Tikkun Olam, which roughly translates to “repairing the world” or “healing the world”. I can only see further destruction at the current rate, and it literally paralyzes my faith in the peace process. When will it end?

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