Posted by on June 01, 2010 in Blog

We are outraged by the reports of causalities in the latest flashpoint of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We condemn Israel’s attack upon a convoy of ships delivering much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza and the resulting loss of civilian life and causalities. The actions of the Israeli government in international waters off the coast of Gaza are deplorable and consistent with a policy in place since the brutal and illegal Israeli blockade was imposed on 1.5 million people in Gaza in 2007.

At its core, Israeli’s siege on Gaza is a policy that disregards the most basic humanitarian considerations and flouts international law. Since the blockade was imposed, a not-so-subtle policy of starving a civilian population has been in place with either complacency or complicity from world leaders, including the United States. A leading source of independent analysis, the International Crisis Group issued a statement highlighting the need for a strategic shift in policy toward Gaza.

Having little impact on Israel’s declared goal of adversely affecting Hamas control in Gaza, the failed policy remains in place in spite of its distressing human toll.

While reasonable people can debate strategies and tactics for ending the immoral blockade, there is no scenario that allows for deadly commando attacks on humanitarian relief efforts and puts the lives of American citizens at risk.

The United Nations Security Council has condemned the attack and issued a presidential statement addressing the incident that “deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza.”

The State Department issued a statement also expressing regret over the causalities and continued concern about the “suffering of civilians in Gaza,” but unfortunately failed to address the implications of this attack by being the only party that thinks Israel can investigate itself by asserting that the “Israeli government will conduct a full and credible investigation.”

While a great deal of media has turned the focus of this incident into a discussion of a public relations blunder for Israel, the focus must remain on the failed policy that prompted the humanitarian relief effort to begin with. While the IDF is historically adept at explaining away its “errors of judgment,” Israel’s standard use of lethal force has been and continues to be the problem not the PR implications of it.

Crises like this often allow for reexamination of policies and shifts. For the sake of our national security interests, our world standing and regional stability, we must act quickly to end the humanitarian blockade of Gaza, demand a full independent investigation of this deadly assault and secure the release of our citizens under Israeli military control. After that, we can move to asserting our leadership role to advance negotiations between Arabs and Israelis.

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