Citizen Hearings on the impact of U.S. Weapons used on civilians in Gaza, during Israel"s operation Cast Lead. The hearings were organized by AFSC.Photo: Nader Khouri
Vision and Framework for Citizen Hearings on Impact of US Weapons on Civilians in Gaza
Interfaith Witness for Middle East Peace is an ad hoc coalition of faith-based individuals and community groups. We view the United States as a major contributor to the militarization of the conflict and thus, by extension, the maintenance of systems of inequality between Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Curriculum Guide to Citizen Hearings is a tool to engage, educate and activate faith-based communities and secular groups to:
- Press for congressional hearings on the impact of US weapons on civilians in Gaza.
- Increase U.S. public demand for reduction or an end to military aid for Israel.
- Promote education and dialogue on the impact of militarization in creating and maintaining inequalities in Israeli and Palestinian societies.
- Create awareness around the illegal use of US weapons in the conflict
There are currently a variety of campaigns to end systematic inequality between Israelis and Palestinians which include traditional nonviolent methods of academic, cultural and economic boycott, selective divestment, sanctions, lobbying government officials, door to door petition campaigns, letter writing and non-violent direct action.
Interfaith Witness for Middle East Peace joins in partnership with many of these efforts including: Al Awda, Right of Return Coalition, American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights Foundation, American Muslim Voice, Arab Resource Organizing Center, Bay Area Friends of Sabeel, Berkeley Women in Black, Buena Vista United Methodist Church, Alameda, Break the Siege, Code Pink, Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC, Flashpoints Radio, Interfaith Peace-Builders, Israel-Palestine Task Force of the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church, Middle East Children’s Alliance, Jewish Voice for Peace, Justice, Advocacy, and Caring Committee of the San Francisco Presbytery, PC (USA), Middle East Study Group, Alameda, Middle East Study Group, Walnut Creek, South Alameda County Peace and Justice Coalition/Tri-City Peace and Justice, Trinity United Methodist Church, Berkeley, US Campaign to End the Occupation.
Why Citizen Hearings?
The assault on Gaza was carried out with US weapons and Congressional support in the form of Senate and House Resolutions. We join with other groups that want Congress to determine whether the use of US military weapons, personnel and military aid packages to Israel violates the Arms Export Act and Loan Guarantees Act which the US government is legally bound to uphold. Our tax dollars continue to pay for weapons systems and surveillance technology that enabled Israel to conduct its assault on Gaza and maintain the over sixty year old military occupation of Palestinian land and people.
The Citizen Hearings Curriculum Guide offers community organizers testimony and accessible information to help educate our communities and pressure our congressional representatives.