Thursday, July 20, 2006

Take Action

In addition to attending the protest this Friday at Westlake Center, you can take action by contacting your elected officials. My letter is below - focus on the humanitarian disaster for the people of Lebanon and the Palestinian territories which is currently being supported by the United States.

My letter to Senators Murray and Cantwell:
Senator Murray,

I am gravely concerned today about the ongoing support of the United States for the military actions of the Israeli government. While Israel has a right to defend itself from attacks, that right does not extend to the destruction of civilian infrastructure in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, such as the power plant in Gaza, the Palentinian Prime Minister's Office, the civilian airport in Lebanon, major arterials that allow for transport of humanitarian assistance, or other non-military targets. These targets have been struck with military equipment provided by or purchased with funds from the United States and I am gravely concerned about our complicity in the attacks upon civilian infrastructure.

Any solution to this crisis must start with peace, empower an independent Lebanese government, and address the continued Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

I ask you to stand up and ask the important questions that need to be asked about our continued support for al thel actions of the state of Israel and the resulting complicity of the United States.


Karl D. Smith


Cody said...

Hi Karl. I'm glad to see people still write their representatives in Congress. Like a lot of people, I don't really know what to think about the violence in Lebanon. I know Israel has a right to defend itself, but I don't know why they're bombing what seems to me to be civilian infrastructure. I've talked to people who support Israel's actions, but I was curious about your point of view. Why do you think Israel has pursued it's present course of action (i.e. bombing of Rafiq Hariri Intl. Airport,etc.)

Karl Smith said...

Hi Cody. You raise a great question, and it is always worth hearing everyone out. Having listened to various Israeli government officials, the justification tends to be that Hezbollah uses the civilian infrastructure and hides amongst civilians. In the case of the roads in Lebanon, those could be used by militants to transport missiles or militants. In the case of the power plant in Gaza, they suggested a lack of power would slow the militants who had captured the Israeli soldier down.

Now, what I'm doing is weighing that against the harm to civilians. In the case of the power plant, 700,000 Palestinians are now without power and water and will be for at least 6-7 months (not to mention that I find the justification itself dubious). In the case of the roads in Lebanon, while that may serve the intended purpose it also prevents civilians from leaving conflict zones and humanitarian organizations from providing relief to civilians in those areas (as Kofi Annan mentioned today). As for the airport and Lebanese military locations, I have yet to hear a stated justification (not that there hasn't been one, but I have yet to hear it).

In sum, Israel certainly espouses seemingly legitimate-sounding reasons for its actions, but to me, those reasons do not justify the attendant harm to civilians.