January 8, 2009
You may have seen us standing on the corner of Mitchell and US 31 carrying signs and flags or seen us in the Petoskey News Review on January 8, 2009. Northern Michigan People for Peace is standing outside in protest calling for an end to the Israeli invasion and bombardment of Palestinians citizens in Gaza and call for an opening of Gaza's borders and end of the blockade. We ask that the people there have access to food, water, electricity, gas for cooking and other humanitarian aid that has been denied them.
Northern Michigan People for peace are resolved to solving conflicts in a non-violent fashion and for this reason we are against Hamas's rockets shot into Southern Israel and the disproportionate Israeli retaliation. We believe that a military assault on Gaza and her people is not a useful step towards peace, which is sorely needed in this region, and the US should use its power as negotiator to assert this point.
We support finding a solution to the conflict without violence on either side. Northern Michigan People for Peace works to promote peace and justice in our community, our nation and our world. Our activities aim to prevent violent conflict and, if violence occurs, to promote reconciliation and sustainable peace.
As Jimmy Carter recently stated, these hostilities could have been prevented and it is urgent that the US act now so that further atrocities are prevented. Israel must end its blockade of Gaza, which is depriving the population of necessary humanitarian aid and normal economic activity. Although Israel's security is important it cannot be at the expense of hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians.
We condemn all war crimes, which are set out in international humanitarian law in the Geneva Conventions. Hamas has violated these laws by targeting civilian populations with rocket fire. Israel's violations were articulated recently by include the UN head of the General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto who recently stated, "The behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that [it] illegally occupies." Israel's violations include: the collective punishment of 1.5 million people for the actions of a few militants (such as restricting their ability to flee and depriving them of basic needs), targeting civilians (such as bombing schools, using phosphorus shells, targeting major population centers), and disproportionate military response.
We call on the Israeli government to stop their killing of women, children, journalists, humanitarian workers, and all civilians.
We call on the area residents to use their own power and voice to contact their representatives to urge an end to the atrocities at once. We call on local residents to contact Bart Stupak, Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and pressure them to vote against any resolution that fails to call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, and for unimpeded access for humanitarian aid into Gaza and a lifting of Israel's illegal siege.
We call on the US to stop using its veto power on the UN security counsel to protect Israel. We call on the US to stop giving a $2.34 billion blank check to Israel for weapons, which we believe is accelerating the violence.
We call on President Bush and President elect Barack Obama to stop all military aid to Israel until it stops using the weapons on innocent civilians being held captive in their own land.
Come join us at our next meeting to work towards a more peaceful and just world: January 20th at 7pm Horizon Books.