Iowans gather on November 15, 2012 outside the Federal Building in Des Moines to protest violence in Gaza.Photo: AFSC / Kathleen McQuillen
“Equal Rights for All” is the message delivered to the Des Moines offices of Senators Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin by a hastily-gathered group of Iowans responding to Israel’s latest attacks on the Israeli-closed city of Gaza. As of November 16, Israel has unleashed more than 100 missiles on the people locked inside Gaza, and Israeli troops are being moved toward the city. Rockets from inside Gaza are striking Israeli cities.
(For those looking for symmetry, there is none. As an example – since 2008, 2174 Palestinians have been killed inside Gaza, while 64 Israelis have been killed.)
Iowans called on their senators to push for a ceasefire and to push for a serious diplomatic effort to resolve the conflict. A statement issued by the US State Department asserting “Israel’s right to defend itself” fails to address the real issue. The AFSC statement delivered to the offices notes, “The roots of the current conflict are to be found in Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Gaza strip, its failure to recognize the results of the 2006 Palestinian election, and the continued blockade of Gaza.”
It is true that the United Nations affirms that all countries have the right to defend themselves; the UN also mandates that all peoples have the rights to food, shelter, freedom of movement, and security in their homes. The US must stop its biased and unconditional support for Israel.
“Equal rights for all” must be the new US policy for the peoples of Israel and Palestine.