Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gaza is dying

Dear friends

Gaza is dying -- the battle has moved deep into its cities, jam-packed with 1.5 million civilians
lacking food, medicine or water. President Bush undermined Thursday's United Nations ceasefire resolution and over 1000 people are now dead. The borders remain closed -- journalists can't get in, and desperate civilians can't get out.

But the global movement to end this war is building -- as we spread the word the petition is at 430,000 signatures and rising, it has been delivered to top leaders at the EU, UN and Arab League, our US members are flooding their representatives with phone calls, and Avaaz members worldwide have donated over $120,000 to an ad campaign in key newspapers.

The pressure is working -- so we're ratcheting it up with hard-hitting US ads pressing Barack Obama personally for an immediate change of tack, face-to-face petition deliveries to European leaders this week to get them to act, and working with Palestinians and Israelis to plan bold actions on the ground. But every one of these actions becomes stronger as more of us join the campaign. We need to reach 1 million signatures this week -- thank you for signing the petition already, let's all of us now take a moment to forward this email to all our friends and family so they can join us and be heard:

Voices for a ceasefire are finally being heard in the Israeli cabinet and media, Hamas is signalling it could accept a deal including Turkish forces and EU monitors, but the sides are too far apart to end this themselves.[3] That’s why action by world powers is critical to break the deadlock -- and global citizens’ voices can make all the difference if we raise an unstoppable voice calling on incoming President Obama, the EU and Arab and Muslim states to guarantee a fair and lasting ceasefire.

This week we are lobbying European and Muslim states for a more effective international initiative to end the violence, protect civilians on all sides and make normal life possible again in Gaza, while reaching out to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who is in the Middle East working for a deal (we met him last year to deliver our food crisis campaign). Meanwhile we’re challenging contacts on both sides to think creatively and accept a fair, internationally-overseen agreement.

We've already run member-funded ads in the influential Washington Post and Roll Call, the US Congress newspaper -- on the day of his inauguration this coming Tuesday, we will press Barack Obama to abandon Bush’s failed policies and act immediately to end this war, using his own words alongside hard facts to make the case in ads, US media debates and directly lobbying his team.

It's amazing what we can do when hundreds of thousands of us come together arond the world -- and if we raise our efforts to another level this week, we could help to finally end the Gaza horror. Follow the link below to take the first step by signing the petition, then spread the word so others can do the same:

With hope and determination,

Paul, Graziela, Alice, Ricken, Luis, Brett, Ben, Iain, Paula, Veronique, Milena and the whole Avaaz team

P.S. For a report on some of Avaaz's other campaigns so far, see:


1. "White House behind US volte-face on ceasefire call":

"Israeli PM Ehud Olmert claims to be able to order Bush around":

2. Washington Post: Israelis Push to Edge of Gaza City:

3. Haaretz, "Olmert ignoring calls from Barak, Livni for immediate Gaza truce":

Other Voice - Sderot and Gaza residents calling for a ceasefire:

On Hamas acceptance of a Turkish force, first reported in the Arabic Al-Hayat newspaper, see:

"Gaza bloodshed continues despite UN calls for ceasefire", 9 January 2009:

"Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?" (6 January 2009) is a statistical analysis by an MIT professor, based on Israel's own data for rocket fire (which it shows stopped for four months) and on which side struck first. It provides useful factual background for how the Israel-Hamas truce effectively collapsed in November well before it expired (facts poorly reflected in some news reporting):

International Crisis Group's Ending the War in Gaza report (5 January 2009):

This Rasmussen Reports poll from the US is of interest: Only 31% of Democrats support offensive, most prefer a diplomatic solution:

"Gaza: outlines of an endgame", Ghassan Khatib (6 January 2009)

Jerusalem Post: "Israel must get out of Gaza now", 8 January 2009:

Reuters: "Hamas seeks truce but says lifting siege a must" (5 January 2009)

The US Army War College has just released a substantial report supporting the view that Hamas can and must be brought into negotiations and is capable of sustaining a long-term truce, or even peace with Israel. Linked via:

The inside story of the civil strife between Fatah and Hamas and the Bush administration's involvement in this debacle is best-told in The Gaza Bombshell, an investigative article published in the leading US magazine Vanity Fair in April 2008:
http://www.vanityfair.c om/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804

ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. Call us at: +1 888 922 8229 or +55 21 2509 0368 Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages!

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