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A Vigil on Thursday June 3 will focus on Israel's piracy and Ending the Siege of Gaza
A vigil on Thursday, June 3 will have the theme of holding Israel Accountable for Piracy, Murder, and Starvation, and End the Siege of Gaza.
Peace activists have doubtless been following the events in the high seas off Israel/Gaza with great anguish. Assaulting civilian aid ships in international waters, Israeli commandos killed at least nine aid carriers and wounded many tens more. 680 passengers, from 40 countries (including our own) were then illegally kidnapped by the Israeli commandos and taken to Israel.
Other governments-- notably that of NATO member Turkey-- have intervened forcefully to secure the release of their nationals from captivity in Israel and to try to hold Israel accountable both for its murderous actions in international waters and for the continuing, illegal blockade of Gaza.
We here in Virginia need to show our representatives in congress that we want them to start to hold Israel accountable, too.
I was in Gaza with a delegation last November. Even though I've researched and written a lot about Middle Eastern affairs for 35 years now, and had visited Gaza a number of times before, I was still deeply shocked to see the degree of destruction in the Gaza Strip, and to see families still living in tents more than 10 months after the end of the previous big Israeli assault on the Strip. The reason? Because Israel refuses to allow into the Strip any of the construction materials so sorely needed to repair that earlier damage.
Tragically, the Israeli government has continued to receive strong support from the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress for its policy of imposing illegal collective punishment on all of Gaza's 1.5 million people. Our government has been complicit in the suffering that has resulted in Gaza. And now, with Washington still unwilling to speak out forthrightly against Israel's murderous policies on the high seas, it seems complicit in those policies, too.
At the vigil/demonstration, we will ask our fellow citizens to join us in urging a much fairer policy:
* End the Siege of Gaza
* End the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank
* Hold Israel accountable for Piracy, Murder, and Starvation.
Please join us!