Israel and Palestine; letter to my Congressman
Dear Congressman Inslee,
Thank you for taking the time to send me your reason (letter below) why you chose to endorse a condemnation of the Goldstone Report; I am afraid I cannot accept your response as a considered one.
While I realize you might never see this, I feel you need to understand why we are feeling such agony over your signing of that infamous resolution.
I wonder if you have ever visited Gaza?
It is about 360 sq Km (137 sq. mi, see detailed maps below) in total with about 1,500,000 people imprisoned inside…that is almost 11,000 people per square mile (17 per acre) if everybody was neatly spread around all of Gaza, desert and all. If you were told to “run” with your children, where exactly would you have been able to escape Israeli bombs when Israel was even bombing the beaches of Gaza? Israeli forces deliberately even killed entire families who were surrendering with white flags.
Yet you surprise me by saying, “Israel’s implementation of warning efforts that appear to have saved lives“.
Are you aware of DIME weapons
that we have provided Israel? Ha’aretz reports
that “The problem is that when you are killed – you are ripped to shreds and there is nothing left
You justified Israel’s invasion of Gaza by saying, “rocket attacks from Gaza to the surrounding communities that preceded that conflict
“. Everybody seems to be eagerly citing Palestinian rockets fired into Sderot as the reason for Israel’s brutal invasion of Gaza, yet in the six months following the start of the cease-fire in June 2008 18 rockets and 20 mortars
had been fired from Gaza. Earlier, in June 2006, then Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres dismissed them
as “Qassams, shmassams,”.
The FACTS according to B’Tselem
say that between September 2000 and December 2008, 13 Israelis
were killed by rocket fire from Gaza while in the same period, 3000 Palestinians
were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza.
Congressman, I am glad your heart grew tender as you considered Israel in the Goldstone Report (“I noticed specific unfair criticisms of Israeli actions during the recent incursion“). We fully understand that you have to “dance with them that brung you to the dance” and we as Arabs and Muslims, are not at all significant for you; we only wish that you had saved just a little of your compassion for the Palestinian women and children as well and at the very least, you could have been absent from the House as the resolution was voted on.
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about H.Res 867, which asks the Administration not to support the endorsement of the “Report of the United Nations (U.N.) Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” (the Goldstone Report). I appreciate hearing from you.
Like you, I believe that it is more important than ever that the U.S. lead as an honest broker in finding a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. H.Res. 867 points out errors of bias in the Goldstone report and its original commissioning order by the U.N. Human Rights Council that were not resolved by the time the report was finished. As a result of these errors, 16 U.N. Human Rights Council member countries including France, Germany, and the Netherlands refused to endorse the report.
Despite this lack of endorsement by nations that have traditionally defended human rights in Palestine, I approached this resolution knowing that the leader of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, Judge Richard Goldstone, is a credible figure on human rights and his report is capable of shedding needed light on the deeply tragic suffering that has resulted from the Gaza conflict. However, as I read the Mission’s report, I noticed specific unfair criticisms of Israeli actions during the recent incursion. For example, I believe the Mission’s report unduly criticizes Israel’s implementation of warning efforts that appear to have saved lives by making 160,000 automated telephone calls to warn Gaza residents before bombing strikes near their location. Due to the many important findings in the Goldstone Report and the importance that the outcomes of the Gaza Conflict be studied, this vote was an extremely difficult decision. Ultimately, I voted in favor of the resolution because, while the need for it was questionable, this resolution reflected some real problems in the Goldstone report.
While these flaws cause the Goldstone to fall short as a complete document of the recent Gaza conflict, I have read much of the report and I continue to believe that it is important to gain a thorough and complete understanding of the tragic costs of Israel’s incursion into the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009, as well as the rocket attacks from Gaza to the surrounding communities that preceded that conflict. I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind as I support continuing efforts in the process of building peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people.
You may be interested to know that I have cosponsored H.Res. 130, expressing support for the appointment by the Obama Administration of former Senator George Mitchell as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. This bill commits to supporting President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Special Envoy Mitchell in their vigorous pursuit of a diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts based on the establishment of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, and with recognized borders. Please know that I will remain committed to these goals in the 111th Congress. I will keep your thoughts in mind as the diplomatic process continues to unfold.
Very truly yours,
Member of Congress
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