Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Unconditional support for Israel must stop

Hudson Valley lawmakers should reconsider unconditional support for Israel. As Israel launches a ground invasion of Gaza and hope for a ceasefire grows dimmer, people of conscience around the world are opposing the war. Demonstrations calling for an end to the assault on Gaza, the occupation of Palestine and the targeting of civilians on both sides have drawn hundreds of thousands around the world, including a vigil of 35 people in Woodstock.
American lawmakers have ignored these demands, choosing to unconditionally back Israel. U.S. House of Representatives Resolution No. 657 and U.S. Senate Resolution No. 498 gave the green light to the bombing of Gaza by referring to it as an act of self-defense, despite a United Nations estimate that 77 percent of those killed in Gaza weren't militants but civilians. Hudson Valley Reps. Chris Gibson, a Republican, and Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat, co-sponsored the House resolution while Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, both D-N.Y., co-sponsored the Senate resolution. Both passed without objection.
There's no excuse for the deaths of three Israeli teenagers that sparked this crisis. Regrettably, Israel hasn't pursued justice but has enacted collective punishment on the Palestinian people.
As the death toll in Gaza grows, there are several ways the United States could put pressure on Israel to stop the bombing, such as cutting military aid, ending diplomatic immunity at the United Nations or levying sanctions.
It's time for our elected officials to get serious about working toward a just peace. The alternative is watching a massacre unfold in slow motion.
Schuyler Kempton

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