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MCC Canada sends letter to Prime Minister on Gaza situation.
January 5, 2009
Dear Prime Minister,
We write to you today because of Mennonite Central Committee’s deep concern over Israel’s bombing of Gaza and the very real possibility of an invasion by Israeli ground forces. Our concern arises out of sixty years of experience in relief, development and peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine, including humanitarian assistance in Gaza.
Israel claims that its attacks on Gaza are a response to Hamas militant rocket attacks on Israel. We deplore these rocket attacks. They kill people, damage property, and exacerbate the fear and insecurity that many Israelis experience.
That said, we believe that Israel’s response of heavy bombing, with more than 300 dead, more than 1000 injured, and thousands more traumatized, is drastic and devastating, and it compounds an already serious humanitarian crisis. Moreover, this response fails to acknowledge and take responsibility for the tremendous suffering that Israel has imposed on Palestinians through its eighteen-month siege on Gaza, and, perhaps more importantly, the occupation under which Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have lived for more than forty years. It is this very suffering, we believe, which fuels the rage which leads to the rocket attacks and ongoing anger and unrest.
MCC believes that peace and security for all people in the region can only be gained through peaceful means. It cannot come from rocket attacks. It cannot come from bombing and airstrikes. A lasting peace can only be achieved as all parties, including Hamas, engage in political negotiations to address the issues that divide them.
We urge you, Mr. Prime Minister, to call Hamas leaders to stop their rocket attacks against Israel. We urge you, Mr. Prime Minister, to use your influence to call Israel to immediately stop its bombing, airstrikes and other military activity against Gaza. We urge you to insist that all parties allow humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable people. We ask you to join others in pursuing political negotiations that will bring an end to the forty-year occupation of Gaza and West Bank and that will free Palestinians from two generations of oppression.
The holy scriptures, which were born in the land which is now Palestine/Israel, teach us that peace and security are the fruit of justice and righteousness. Please use your significant influence as prime minister of Canada to promote this important teaching now.
Donald G. Peters Executive Director
Cc: Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Michael Ignatieff, Leader of Liberal Party Honourable Jack Layton, Leader of New Democratic Party Mr. Gilles Duceppe, Leader of Bloc Quebecois